Friday, December 11, 2009

He knows when you're awake

Christmas Eve, probably 1950. I am 3 years old, sitting in the living room at my grandparents’ house, staring sleepily at the lights on the Christmas tree, vowing that I would not go to sleep until I saw Santa Claus arrive with the loot, when some cruel adult told me something that changed my life. That cruel adult told me that he heard an announcement on the radio that Santa and his sleigh had been caught in foul weather and there was going to be no Christmas that year. Even then I was a rather intense child and was devastated. So on Christmas Eve every year from then on I had a stomach ache from the stress of worrying about Santa Claus. I would pace the floors when my family was sleeping. I would climb into bed with my mother because I was so worked up with anticipation and concern that I needed extreme comfort. I heard Santa and the reindeer on the roof. I swear I did. I distinctly remember being in bed with my mother, hearing footsteps on the roof, and I lay frozen with my head under the blankets for fear that Santa would know I was awake. Remember he knows when you’re awake. I believed it all; nothing could sway me from my belief. I still believe. Even though I had to be Santa when my children were little, I still believe. Even though I now live alone and no one fills my empty Christmas stocking, I still believe. So this Christmas Eve I’ll be lying awake in my bed in fear and anticipation, waiting for Santa Claus. I don't give up easily.

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