Monday, December 24, 2012

Magic for the SantaMama

I don't believe in magic anymore.  Do you?

It's Christmas Eve and today, like the past 9 Christmases, I have been in charge of making the magic.  I am not a little girl anymore, Christmas lost it's magic for me a long time ago.  I grew up and became the SantaMama at my house.  (shout out to my fellow SantaMamas who are in various stages of exhaustion and panic at 7:30pm on Christmas Eve)

And, like the rest of my fellow SantaMamas, I have spent the waking hours of the past 10 days in or near tears as my heart re-broke at the terrible news coming out of Newtown, CT.  The magic, it seems, for our entire country is out of reach this year.  I have trudged through my magic-making duties -- the wrapping, the baking, the hiding of gifts, the cleaning, even church, with a heavy heart and a good measure of guilt.

It has been some consolation to know that 2012 will not be the saddest Christmas I have ever lived through.  And, thanks to some faulty arithmetic on the part of some old Mayan dudes, it won't be my last Christmas.  Because I am the SantaMama in this house, in charge of all things magical, I have halfheartedly performed my magic making duties because, to paraphrase Robert Frost, I have promises to keep.

So, imagine, when, what to my wondering eyes (and ears) should appear, but a series of surprises as my Darling Dears and I left the 5pm Christmas Eve service at our church.  Upon our exit we were greeted by a brass quintet playing Christmas carols, their coats and hats dusted with (surprise!) softly falling snow.  As we said our good-byes and made our way to the car, the piercing sound of a fire engine cut through the darkness, startling me. Being in my nearly constant tearful state, my first thought was, "Oh no, more sadness for someone this Christmas."  But, as the fire truck came into view, my heart did a little flutter as I realized this was a special firetruck with a special cargo.  It was decorated with Christmas lights and carried Santa and Mrs. Claus!  My children and I hopped and waved, the siren blared and the lights twinkled, the band played and the snowflakes fell.  I threw back my head and laughed, for the first time in a week.  And for just a moment, with snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, I was no longer 46, but 6, and I let my heart be light.

SantaMamas work so hard, trying to give to our  families the memories of Christmas Perfect.  It's all sugar and secrets, credit cards and The Carpenters.  So to walk out into a dark winter's night to have all these little Christmas treats handed to me and mine, unexpectedly, without work, without even asking for them, like so many cookies on a Christmas Eve plate, is not just perfection.  It's magic.