Santa Clause is REAL and working at the Mall!
I was privileged to have a unique experience while shopping with my 14 year old son and my newly adopted, 15 year old Ukrainian daughter. Like most evenings in my busy life as a working mother with four children, I was chauffeuring children all over town. I was overly tired and cranky and looking forward to a good nights sleep when I went to pick up Joshua and Kate at 6:00 after swimming practice.
Kate had been repeatedly asking for a new cell phone and had worked very hard to earn enough money to purchase her phone. I reluctantly agreed to drive to the mall, and only “gave in” to her because I had been a “bad” mother earlier in the day and let my youngest son down after forgetting his parent/child luncheon. Totally depressed and exhausted, I drove to the Mall.
Upon entering the Mall, Kate immediately saw SANTA CLAUSE walking toward “his house”. She grew very excited and kept pointing and saying, “It’s Santa Clause, It’s Santa Clause!!!” She had the enthusiasm of a young child which I was not prepared for in this situation. I had assumed Santa Clause to be Universal and well known all over the world. Josh and I laughed and said, “Haven’t you ever seen Santa Clause before?” She said, “Only on TV”. We paused, stared at each other briefly, and proceeded to go to the store to purchase her cell phone and finish her shopping.
As we were leaving, we had to pass Santa’s house yet again. Fortunately, there was no one waiting to see him and we approached so that she could peer inside and get a closer look at Santa. I had very little money on me and I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to see Santa if we didn’t purchase a “picture package”, and I wasn’t interested in that. I went inside and briefly introduced my daughter and explained that she had only been in the United States for 7 months. She was born and raised in Ukraine and had spent the prior 8 years in a very poor orphanage. She did not need any pictures taken but would simply like to meet Santa and touch his beard. Santa immediately turned to my daughter and spoke to her in Russian! Josh & I stared with AWE at one another â€“ SHOCKED that he would speak to her in her native tongue. I was so impressed at his attitude and pleasant demeanor toward my teenage daughter! He hugged her and I watched her face shine with excitement. She sat on his lap like a small child and touched his beard very gently. Kate looked at me and said, “Mom, I knew Santa was REAL â€“ look, I am touching his beard.”
Santa proceeded to ask Kate what she wanted for Christmas. He gave her suggestions of typical items most girls would ask for. Kate kept telling him “No” after every suggestion. She then said to him, “Last year at Christmas I could have told you a lot of things that I wanted and needed, but all I wished for was a family, and this year I have a family. What else do I really need? I have everything I could have ever wanted.” The mall Santa wasn’t “about” the dollar or the pictures or the number of children he spoke to during his shift, it was, instead, about my daughter. I cried all the way home. I wasn’t tired or cranky anymore. And it was at that moment that it didn’t matter how much money we had or how much we would be able to spend on our children this year, but it was about the life we saved and giving a child the best Christmas of her life.