Today I had the joy–and it was sheer joy–of seeing the faces of children as they saw Santa Claus up close and personal.
Our favorite little coffee shop hosted Santa in the chair next to the Christmas tree up on the little stage. Family after family came in and approached Santa with timid footsteps and eager. With shy smiles, radiant, beaming faces, or with worried frowns. Some children went straight up to Santa, while others had to warm up to him from afar. Santa sat with children of ALL ages on his lap or standing next to his chair, and he listened. He held hands and handed out candy canes and smiled and laughed and coaxed little ones into smiling for the camera.
Most parents pulled their phones out and took pictures of their children with the jolly old elf. Group shots and individual ones with Santa and their children.
And that’s when I had to step in. I was that person reaching for their phones, insisting they get in at least one picture too. For a family shot.
Almost every time, the parent would insist he/she hadn’t really planned on being in the picture, so they looked “a mess.” Still I insisted.
One day your children will thank you. They will be glad they have pictures of you and them together.
I know of what I speak.
Over the years, there aren’t a whole lot of pictures of me and my Mama. She was either taking the picture or in the kitchen while the rest of us were taking them. So when I find one of the two of us, it brings me great joy.
I don’t have enough pictures with my Mama and Daddy.
So today, I reached for phones and insisted parents jump in there, and I took two or six shots of each family with Santa, insisting the parents look at the pictures before they left, so we could redo if we needed to.
It was an honor to see their faces. Because when the whole family was in there with Santa, the parents’ smiles were usually bigger than those of the children. Every single time.
If you are going to be with folks you love over the holidays, take lots of pictures with them, not just of them–all the people, parents and children. Use the little square in the corner of your screen to turn the camera around and take selfies with them if you have to. Whatever you have to do, create some magical pictures with the folks you love for you and others to look back on and remember and feel all the love once again.
My favorite moment today–when the veil was so thin–was when I looked in the eyes of a young Mama who got it. She saw into my soul and why it mattered so much to me, and I saw into hers and knew that it was important for her too. She was a tearfully happy Mama in the picture with her very young littles which I took through tears of my own.
Tonight I give thanks for the pictures I do have with my folks, and I give thanks for all the times I look at someone I love and say, “Let’s take a picture together and they say, ‘Okay.'” The photos bring back joyful memories and make me smile and remember and hold my people close. Once again. The years between us just melt away.
Merry memory-making, y’all.
Love to all.