We almost missed Santa.
Yep, and you can thank 8 year old Boo for that. Every year we make sure the kids are crystal clear in the understanding that Santa refuses to visit any house wherein any child is awake. Only once the advance elf scout teams are certain everybody is in blissful slumber do they give the green light to the Big Guy, who can then safely land and leave gifts. How does he do it all in one night?
Before bed, we gathered ’round the family laptop and navigated to NORAD’s Santa tracking website, which showed the Jolly Old Elf leaving Arizona and heading northward to Utah. It was time.
The rest of the kids were gone in 10 minutes, but Boo is too excited to go to sleep. Midnight, 1:00… 2:00– still awake. Eyes closed, but very much awake, trying his darnedest to drift. Quick meeting between Mom and I: let’s bring him in our bed. It’s worked in the past.
3:00…4:00– the boy won’t give up the ghost. Are the wheels turning in his head? Is he suspicious, testing Santa? He is 8, after all, and a few kids at school have been talking. This might be the Big Guy’s chance to prove himself, if one last time.
“Cookies are out, right, Dad?” He asks? Cookies, check. Chocolate chip with M&M’s on top. I had even left a glass of milk, which kids think Santa loves. Santa would prefer an ice-cold Diet Pepsi, but tradition is tradition.
Boo finally sinks. Just in time for Baby Deedle and Miss Ella to begin stirring. “Santa’s got 15 minutes, tops,” think Mom and I, collectively. No need to speak. We both realize the gravity of the situation.
Then silently, swiftly, the magic begins. The presents are laid out, the cookies eaten, the milk choked down. The reindeer food that West had carefully placed on the driveway quietly disappears.
And Santa is gone.
“He came back!” Boo yells when he awakes and walks downstairs. “I just knew we missed him, but he came back. I knew he would. But How did he know?”
Must have been Christmas magic.