Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Visit with Santa

Early December we ventured out to meet the big man in the Red Suit. I wasn't sure how Allie was going to respond. She had been in a particularly strong "Mommy" mood and wasn't so keen on going to other people - friends, relatives, teachers, strangers... it wasn't a really optimum time to go meet Santa again. But, December was upon us and we had an invitation for a "private" (okay - with about 300 of our fellow Early Intervention friends (EI)) breakfast and a meet and greet with the Big Guy himself. So, we dressed up in our finest, told work and school, they would have to wait, and headed to the mall to meet the man again. The last two years, Allie really had no issues with Santa. The first year, if I so boldly recall, her MOM had the issue. You see, after keeping my baby secluded in the NICU and literally only doctors, nurses, Great Grandmother, Tim and I getting to hold Allie, it occured to me suddenly, I was about to let (excuse me, Santa) a stranger hold my daughter. See... I freaked a bit. After all, I've known Santa for a long time, but for a little while that morning when it came to me handing over my 3 pound baby, he was a stranger (and a bad one at that!). Clearly, I came to my senses, had them call Santa back over to where Allie and I were hanging out wishing we could have another shot at the Santa moment, and got him to come back and hold Allie. Anyway... then, the next year we went to the mall, again with our EI folks, and Allie went right to the big guy. I half expected her to tell him what she wanted and to speak her first words. That didn't happen. But, this year, I was sure she would squirm and fuss and we'd have one of those pictures of Santa, Allie and her Mommy - holding Allie. I wasn't looking forward to that, but it became my only backup plan.

We got there early and took a moment to go sit on Santa's velvety green chair before he was using it. I thought maybe that would help Allie be comfortable. She clearly was comfy in his chair and gave me some wonderful pictures. Then, we ate breakfast, talked to Santa a bit, ran into some good friends like Karyn, Amy, Jenny and Victoria and met many new friends including some of our future therapists from our county! Then, we realized that Santa was no where to be found. He must be in his chair! So, we quickly headed over to the "North Pole" to find we weren't first in line this year. In fact, we had quite a wait, but enjoyed it with our friends Lisa and her son, Noah. This is where Noah and Allie wooed the crowd with their cuteness and we met several new friends there as well.

The big moment came... Allie's turn. I put Allie in Santa's lap and prayed the man (boy?) taking the pictures would take some really good ones. Turns out, he didn't seem to be capturing any from what I could tell. Allie looked at Santa, Santa looked at Allie. Allie was a perfect Angel. The man told me to look at the pictures and pick one and I didn't have the heart to tell him that none of them captured my "moment". So, I said thank you... picked a picture and promptly put Allie back on Santa's lap and grabbed my favorite picture of all (complete with my finger over the lens, but I was able to crop it out!).

I was so proud of Allie. As you can see, that day she took a pause in the "only Mommy mood" and went to several friends and Santa. She is such a big girl. I think she knew it was an important photographic day for Mommy. Santa was wonderful to us, too.

And... wouldn't you know... a few weeks later another one of Santa's family members (his brothers help out with the store visits, you know) was waiting for us at our local Walmart! Allie again went right to him. This time it was while sporting her Chicago Bears outfit that Aunt Mo-Mo gave her and Aunt Mo-Mo was at the game that day. AND The Bears won (this is a big deal, you know). So, my little trooper seemed to move quickly out of the "Mommy Only" phase and picked a wonderful time for it. Unfortunately, the rest of the month found Allie under the weather and we had to miss several much anticipated Christmas gatherings. But, we gave Allie lots of hugs and took care of her and reminded ourselves that there is always next year.

We hope your Christmas was very Merry and
Bright and that Santa was very good to you, too!

The Lovell Family

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