Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Santa Got Lost

Santa got lost.

Last Christmas, we went to stay with my husband’s parents, for the holidays. My little boy, Sam, sometimes gets funny ideas into his head about things, and on the drive over, he was unnaturally quiet. After a half hour, my husband looked back, and saw a very sad looking little boy in the booster seat.

“You okay back there, Sammy?” asked Tim.

“How will Santa know we're not at home Daddy?” he said, seriously.

“Santa’s magic, he knows these thing,” said Tim, smiling.

“Like Harry Potter?” asked Sam.

“Yes, only better,” said Tim, smiling at Sam while I watched in the rear-view mirror. Sam frowned, thinking, but didn't say any more on the subject. He soon was playing his Gameboy, lost in his own world. When we got to Tim’s parents’ house they were waiting for us at the door as we pulled up.

“Grandpa,” shouted Sam, as he rushed up the porch steps.  Tim’s father swept Sam up in his strong arms, and twirled him in the air, causing my lovely boy to howl with delight. The outside of the house glittered with fairy lights, and frost, our warm breath fogged the chilled evening air, now it felt like Christmas.

For the next few days, we ate till we burst, watched old movies in the middle of the day, and went for walks in the woods. In a blink of an eye, Christmas Eve was on us, and Sam was so excited, he trembled.

“Dad, are you sure Santa will be able to find us, when we're not at our house?” Sam asked.

“I promise, Sam. Santa knows where every kid in the world is tonight,” Tim said, seriously.

“OK Dad,” Sam said, reserving judgment, but trusting his Dad. Around eight in the evening, I managed to get Sam into his PJ’s, and get his teeth brushed. We put out a glass of milk, and a ham sandwich, for Santa, and a bowl of apples for his reindeer.  Only when all that was done to Sam's satisfaction, would he agree to go to bed. 

“I won’t be able to sleep, Mom, I just know it. Santa will fly right past the house,” Sam said, when I tucked the duvet under his wobbling chin. I could see the tears forming in the corner of his eyes.

“What if I stay with you, and read a story?” I asked. He nodded, and scooted over in the bed. I got under the covers with him and read from Thomas the tank until he was sleeping soundly, and making little boy snores. Later that night, Tim and his dad went out for a beer. I sat in with Tim’s mom, watching A wonderful life on TV. Just after eleven, the sitting room door opened. Sam stood there, with huge wet tears running down his chubby cheeks.

“Santa didn't find us MOM!" he wailed, pointing to the empty space under the tree, in the hall.

“Oh Sam” said Tim’s Mom taking him up on her lap “It’s not Christmas yet” she said showing him the clock above the fireplace. “See the little hand is not at the twelve yet”. Rubbing his eyes Sam looked at the clock, his little brain taking in this new fact.

“You woke up too early sweetheart," said Tim's mom, sweeping the crying boy into her tender arms. "Let me tuck you back in bed for a few more hours. I'm sure Santa is on his way,” she said.

“OK,” he said, slowly, and she carried Sam back to the bedroom, I heard him ask, “Grandma, are you sure he didn't get lost? It's a long way from our house to your house?”

“I’m sure, sweetheart. You know, Santa has been coming to me every year, for nearly seventy years, and he never once got lost, even when I was somewhere else on Christmas Night.” Later, when Tim got home, I told him how upset Sam had been when he found the tree bare.

Once the house grew quiet, and the bed were filled with sleepy people, I heard the branches of the Christmas tree whisper.  I knew the floor was now piled high with gaily wrapped toys, the milk would have vanished, and all the apples would have big bites taken out of them. Santa had been. 

Sam landed on the bed, like an un-exploded cannon ball, when the sun was still well below the horizon. “MOM, MOM, he came, look.” Sam said, excitedly pushing a huge red truck in my face.

“It’s lovely Sammy,” I said, still feeling groggy but happy in the haze of his enthusiasm. “We told you Santa was magic.”

“No one's magic, Mom,” Sam scolded me.

“Well how did he find you so, Mr Smarty Pants?” I teased him, tickling his belly.

“He used the "Find Sam App" on his iPhone,” said Sam, between gales of laughter.

“Has Santa got an iPhone?” I asked.

“Mom, EVERYONE has an iPhone!” Sam said, running off to open more of his presents.
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