The Santa Visit

Phew… tough time of year to keep your head (and your spirits) above water! There’s the cutting your finger with a paring knife, the subsequent tetanus shot, ridiculously late hours at work, money flowing out of your pocket like a punctured jugular (or, if you please, a cut finger), the planning of a certain little girl’s 4th birthday, commitments, exhaustion, anxiety, and visits to Santa...
That last one, the visit to Santa, that one was the straw.

We have been seeing the same Santa every year since the kids were born. He’s very authentic looking and in years past his setup has been great, the staff friendly and the pictures and have turned out nice. This year, with the past few weeks being fairly hectic, we didn’t get out to see Santa as early in the year as we usually do. I knew weekends would be chaos at this point so I thought that a Monday evening after work would probably be a good time to go.

WRONG.

Sooooo wrong. Immediately upon walking into the mall I could see the Santa line and it was long. People were jammed right to the very opening of the winding cattle car barricades and I knew I was fucked. I sent Steve a text when we saw the situation saying that we were at the mall to see Santa with about 3000 other people. He texted me back saying, “Oh well, try again another day”.

Oh no, sir. Once you tell a 2.5 and a 4 year old that they are going to see Santa, dress them up in their Sunday best and drive those little shits all the way to the mall? There is no “try again another day”. You go and you get your ass in the damn line and you pray to whatever God you believe in that you get to see Santa before he goes on his break and that nobody gets hurt or maimed in the process.

Although the line to get to Santa was long and winding it was very festive. There were stations set up along the way that were intended to entertain kids, give them something to fight over during the long wait. My kids were checking one out when two other little boys came and took over, not allowing my kids or any others to play with it. The mother of these boys was down the line a little way, watching adoringly as her rotten little assholes acted like jerks. After Lincoln tried a couple of times to play and was bullied away, Ruby came to me and said, “Mama, that boy won’t let Linky play with that thing.” Not about to discipline someone else’s kids nor lead mine to believe that I can protect them from all the jerks in the world, I said, “Well then I guess Lincoln doesn’t play with it.” Ruby obviously thought about this for a while and when we came upon the next little play area a similar situation occurred with the same asshole kids. Lincoln tried to play with it but this other kid wouldn’t let him. The kid actually said, “NO, you can’t touch it! It’s mine!” Lincoln stared wide eyed but Ruby moved herself over to the toy, put her hand on it, started flipping it back and forth and gave this kid a stern, frigid I-dare-you-to-fuck-with-me stare. She said nothing. She didn’t have to. Kid got the message, turned and walked away. I’m not gonna lie, I felt a surge of pride at that magical Christmas moment.

The trip though the barricades to see Santa was a long one and we survived it with only two granola bars and a bottle of water I had clipped to my purse. If the apocalypse does come I now think we have a good chance of surviving.
By the time we got to the front of the line I could see Santa was getting antsy. Just before we got to the finish line I saw him stand up and look back at the huge line of people waiting to see him. He looked pissed. I swear if he’d tried going on his dinner break at that point I would have taken that fucker down and made him sit with my kids for a picture. I’m pretty sure I would have had the backup of at least 3 other moms.

When our turn FINALLY came, and we walked out to see Santa he snapped at one of his elves, “Kristen! When I’m done with these two I need to talk to you about something!”

Whoa, Santa! Take it easy. I realize you’re almost ready for your break but let’s try to remain in “character” a little longer. For the kids! Also? You work one month out of the year. Suck it up, big man.

Once my kids had sat on his knee, told them what they wanted and got their picture taken (Lincoln smiled AFTER they snapped the photo) I shuffled them through the gate and thought we were done. Heh…. No... As if we hadn’t been through enough, after sitting with Santa we were sent to YET ANOTHER LINE to pick up our pictures! And what store would be conveniently located RIGHT next to Santa’s hangout? Why, none other than Toys ‘R’ Us! So while I waited for another bullshit amount of time for our shitty Santa picture, I also had to single handedly prevent two tired and hungry kids from looting the toy store, all while carrying everyone’s coats, my purse, a water bottle and what little was left of my sanity.

By the time we got home (3 hours after leaving the house), most of my fingernails were broken, my hair was plastered to my face with sweat, I smelled like B.O. and I felt like I’d gone 3 or 4 rounds with Mike Tyson. Steve said to me, “I can’t believe you’d do something like that by yourself.” Looking back on it I can’t believe it myself. I’m not sure what I was thinking but I’ll tell you I am certainly thinking about next year already. I plan on taking a day off in September and having Santa pictures taken to avoid a repeat of this festive, family experience next year...