Sunday, January 6, 2013

When Only the Real Thing Will Do

A couple weeks ago I read a story to the girls one night about the "Legendary" Santa.  It's a story about Santa Clause in the 1930s out one night before Christmas.  He gets caught in a storm and seeks shelter at a department store in Richmond, Virginia called Miller and Rhoads. The story goes on to talk about what Santa finds at the store and how he decides to come back there every year to talk to kids who line up to see him.  The book was based on the fact that Miller and Rhoads had Santa visit their store, much like Santa in the mall, every Christmas season.  However, this was a bigger production.  This was the REAL Santa.  He came down a chimney and knew the name of every child who came to visit him.  I know this because when I as a kid we went to go see him.  Actually, I was a teenager, but  my little sister still believed in Santa and my mom wanted us all to go.  Even though I didn't believe in Santa anymore, the production they put on at that store might have made me question my beliefs a bit.  I mean he knew my name!!  

But back to reading to the girls.  At the end of the book, they give facts about Santa visiting the store. Santa was at Miller and Rhoads from the 1930s until 1989 when it closed down.  From there "Legendary Santa" went to another department store in Richmond, which also closed down a couple years later.  I'm assuming this was around the time Macy's started to take over the world.  So with nowhere else to go, the Children's Museum in Richmond offered a home to Santa during the Christmas season.  Anyone in the Richmond, VA area can still go to visit the REAL Santa Clause.  I believe on the weekends they even have a lunch or brunch with him.  Who doesn't want to dine with Santa?

Upon finishing the story and reading the facts about where Santa was now, Lana said to me,

"Can we go see him?"

"Legendary Santa?  I'm sure we will go someday" I told her.  After all, my sister does live right outside of Richmond, so we could make it there around Christmas at some time in the future. That wasn't good enough for Lana.

"No, I want to go now!" She told me.

"Lana," I tried to reason with her.   "We can't go now.  It's all the way on the other side of the country near where Auntie Beth lives."  But reasoning with a five year old is like herding cats.  Impossible. 

"Ooohhhhh!!!  But I want to go see the REAL SANTA!!!" Lana wailed.


"Seriously, Lana?" I said.  "Honey there is no way we can go now.  Maybe next year we can try to go." I said this purely as a calming tactic.  I mean what are the chances she's going to remember this next year.  Ok, I might have to hide the book, but other than that.  

"Ohhhh!!  NEXT YEAR!!?  That's to far away!!"  She said starting to cry.  "I want to go talk to the real Santa now!"  

I tried to tell her the way she was behaving would not make Santa happy.  She didn't care, the whining continued.  I tried to explain that we were 3,000 miles and that we couldn't just get on a plane and go there tomorrow.  Well, why not?  That sounds perfectly easy and doable in the mind of a five year old.  I mean we  have an airport IN Burbank!  How hard could it be to hop on a plane?  I even tried to tell her that we would see the real Santa on the Santa train ride we would take in a few weeks.  

"Really?" She asked, hopeful that this was true.

"Sure!" I told her, thankful that I found something to help appease her.  "He comes on the train and sees us, then goes back to Virginia."

That calmed her down long enough for me to get her to bed.  Then, as she was laying down, something triggered her sadness over not seeing Santa. Only this time, the sobbing started.  The heartbreaking, she just lost her best friend sobbing she does from time to time.  The kind that makes me want to cradle her like a baby and rock her until she calms down.  It is the exact same way she cried last year after Christmas when I broke her heart and wouldn't call  Rudolph for her so he could come to our house and play.  I laid down next to her in her bed as she cried and wailed "Saaannntttaaa....I want to go see Saaannntttaaa!!" This in between her heart wrenching sobs.  

Eventually, she calmed down and fell asleep.  By the morning she was mostly over it.  I did get questioned a few more times before Christmas about when we were going to get to visit the real Santa in Virgina.  At that point she made peace with the fact that it wouldn't be this year.  God I hope her memory is bad and she doesn't remember this next year.  Otherwise I might have to book us some plane tickets for sometime in December and tell my sister to get the guest rooms ready!  

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