Friday, December 24, 2010

The Man in Red

Those of you who received Christmas cards from us this year might wonder why we did not use this fun photo as our holiday shot. Had this photo been taken earlier in the season it would have been in the running for sure but unfortunately I had already ordered cards when this opportunity presented itself.

Now that it is Christmas Eve and we are on finally on the last day of our advent calendar...the day where Amelia (the even number girl) gets to move the snowflake to the 24th while Natalie (the odd number girl) watches. The same day that every kid we know has been waiting for.
Well, we thought it would be fun to share the story behind this photo.

As seen in the previous post we have a tradition of cutting down our own christmas tree. At the tree farm in addition to tromping through the trees the kids get to enjoy farm animals, a fabulous train set in the gift shop, and of course opportunities to pose for fun photos. Every year there is one activity at the farm that out kids choose to skip....sitting on Santa's lap. In both our families photos with Santa were never on the holiday to do list and something that we have not even considered for our own kids. So when we see various Santas throughout the season our kids well...they have absolutely no interest in seeing him, talking to him and no way are the ever going to sit on his lap. To be honest...they are afraid of him. Not in a run crying and screaming kind of way...just in the wary and watching him from afar kind of way.

Right before we were leaving from the farm I saw a wooden sleigh set up for photo opportunities and thought we should get one more shot. With the bribe of a treat in the car on the way home the kids happily obliged. While loading the sleigh Natalie (in yellow) gave Santa a wary look. I saw this and to speed the photo along looked her in the eye and said,

"Natalie, Santa is not coming over here, He will stay in his chair...I promise".

Amelia of course hearing me say this was instantly relieved and boarded the sleigh. I had no reason to believe that Santa would leave his green Adirondack chair which you can most likely see in the background of the photo.

Like a good Mom I stood off to the side next to Amelia (in green) so that I could catch Sam if he started sliding off the bench. I was not too far away and worked hard to stay out of the shot.
As I was poised to rescue Sam if needed and Mike was snapping away I saw red out of the corner of my eye.

In horror I thought, "Oh no this Santa is going to make a liar of me. I promised Natalie!"
I was also envisioning crying, screaming and jumping from the sleigh.
A bit dramatic but in truth what I thought at the time.

Mike kept snapping pictures and I avoided drawing any attention to the fact that Santa was near...very very near. And as fast as Santa was in place he was gone...back in his chair all safe and sound. As Natalie stood up from her sleigh seat and peered back at Santa to make sure he was still where he should be I smiled a sigh of relief...wondering..just wondering if it had really just happened. Would we actually get a photo with our kids and Santa?

Mike was furiously scrolling through the shots on the camera while I placed our kids back on the ground. I waited and saw the smile come across his face knowing that we had it... the Santa photo! And it was all done without the kids ever knowing he was there.
So, a great family time at the tree farm ended with a fun surprise.

We quietly chatted in the car home wondering how we should unveil this secret to the girls. In the end we decided to order a few special photo holiday cards for family and have Natalie and Amelia sign them. A few weeks later when the cards arrived Mike and I could not wait to show the girls and see their reaction.

Knowing that they were signing special cards for grandparents and family the girls sat anxiously waiting with pens in hand. With Mike watching I sat down in front of them and said,
"These are special cards girls with a special photo so write your name really nice please."

Both Natalie and Amelia were bouncing in anticipation as I slowly pulled the card out of the envelope and showed them.

The looks on their faces were priceless and almost simultaneously they exclaimed,
Their shocked faces were peering at Mike and I unbelieving at what they saw before them.

Thinking to jog their memory I asked, "Where are we in this picture?"

A long pause and then Amelia smiled and said sincerely, "The North Pole?"

Natalie looked at her incredulously while she replied, "The Christmas Tree farm"

Many moments went by where we watched the memories and emotions travel across the girl's faces. As parents we savored the moment of awe for them. The silence was finally broken as with amazed looks on their faces Amelia spoke up and asked, "How did this happen?"

Looking at each other all Mike and I could do is smile and say,
"It's the magic of Santa. It's the magic of Santa."