Isabella is 9-years-old with an older sister and wise-beyond-their-years friends.
She knows that the only fat guy putting gifts under the tree this year will be Daddy. She has actually said that: “fat guy,” “gifts,” “tree,” “Daddy.” Words in that order.
But still, she can barely contain her excitement for Santa. For weeks: We’re 20 days from Christmas! 12 Days from Christmas! 4 Days Away!
She has developed a Classic case of Santasomnia©: She can’t sleep because of the anticipation of Santa’s gift delivery on Christmas Day.
Tonight, December 21st, at 11:45pm she hijacks a groggy daddy in the kitchen.
Iz: Daddy! I’m so excited. It’s almost Christmas! Snuggle with me! I can’t sleep.
Me: Really? I already did that. Crap. Ok.
Into bed we crawl. She rests her head on my shoulder. Her eyes are wide open. If you could, imagine a Norman Rockwell portrait. With me as the father. (stop laughing.)
Iz: Santa’s coming in a couple of days. But, really, I know it’s you and Mommy.
Me: I never said that.
Iz: But, is Santa lactose-intolerant?
Now, there’s a curve I didn’t expect. Because, clearly it was aimed at Daddy. It was a question that was partly inquisitive, and vaguely diagnostic. Almost like a medical commercial (“Have you asked your doctor about LactoXmas? See what LactoXmas® can do for you.”)
Me: Um, no. Honey, I’ve never heard that. But, we can leave a glass of your special tummy milk out if you’d like.
Iz (sternly): Ok, good. I’d like that. Now, as to the cookies.
Me: “As to the cookies.” Shouldn’t I get a lawyer? How much TV are you watching, Sweetie-Pie?
Iz: As to the cookies: Shouldn’t we leave out more cookies than he can actually eat so that there will be leftovers? For, like, in the morning. Idunno.
Me: Ok, I should have bought cookie dough at the grocery store. Your criticism is heard and registered. You were there. You maybe should have said something then. In Aisle 5. When you mentioned that Santa likes Chocolate Chip… Oh, wait. Crap.
Iz: And how does “Santa” deliver gifts to 100,000 houses every second. I mean how does he wrap them? The paper, the tape. What powers those reindeer?
Me: Your quotation marks on “Santa” are duly noted. It all happens because of, wait for it…: Christmas Magic.
I say these things as Isabella is clearly growing weary, but…
She giggles with me in the most wink-wink way. And I can’t help but scoop her up and squeeze tight. Because of Christmas Magic.
And, on Cue (and this is absolutely true):
Me: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me Happy….
Iz: Like you used to sing. Zzzzzzz.