At noon last Wednesday I had Christmas nailed. BAM! Presents bought in one massive spree down in Great Falls, our nearest town of WalMart-worthy size (although we bypassed the big stores for the downtown shops which was way cool). Everything on the kid’s list was stashed down in the old granary we use as a storage shed, waiting to magically appear under the tree that was already erected and hung with our hodge-podge of ornaments. The only gift I’d bought
online–my dad’s Kindle–had arrived, was charged and I spent my Hump Day lunch hour getting it set up and loading a couple of books on it. My potluck party contributions for Christmas Eve and Christmas day were planned, groceries acquired. I’d even managed to dig out my Christmas sweaters for the last three days of work before the holiday.
I’m telling you, I had Christmas’s butt kicked. Then, on Wednesday night, we had a chat with Santa.
It was, on the surface, a harmless little soiree. A sweet gesture by our school bus driver, who hauls the kids in our community forty miles every morning and every night and asked if we could have a party for his passengers at my cousin’s place. And the kicker–he would provide a Santa.
Yay. My son was thrilled. He hopped right up onto Santa’s lap and proceeded to describe in great detail exactly which Mario Wii game he absolutely had to have. It was adorable, except for one minor detail–HE HAD NOT ONCE UNTIL THAT VERY MOMENT MENTIONED THIS STUPID GAME.
It wasn’t on his list. It sure as heck wasn’t stashed down in the granary with the rest of the haul. And short of driving a hundred miles back to Great Falls, it wasn’t going to be added because there’s not a store in our town that sells Wii games.
Then I got home, prepared to wrap my dad’s gift so my parents could take it along when they left for Spokane the next morning and realized I had left the frigging Kindle on my desk. At the office. Fifty miles away. Then my sister called and in the course of the conversation said “Why, no, you don’t need to chip in for Mom’s present. Didn’t I tell you? We got it for half price so we just paid for the whole thing.” Which meant I also had no gift for my mother.
Thus began a mad scramble. I unearthed a pair of earrings I bought for my older sister in September and forgot to give her for her birthday in October and wrapped those up for Mom. Told my younger sister to tell Dad whoops, you’ll have to wait until you get home to get the Kindle that goes in that lighted case Mom got you.
Then I launched a four day campaign to prepare the boy for disappointment. Sorry, kid, but you put in your order too late. Well, yes, Santa does have a toy machine, and yes, those elves are pretty handy, but…
Well, yes, honey, I know Santa told you he’d bring it, but Santa was confused. He has a lot of kids to keep track of and you can’t expect him to remember it all off the top of his head. Well, yes, I know he’s magic, but IT WASN’T ON YOUR DAMN LIST!
So, Christmas morning came and went. The boy was thrilled with his toboggan, his popcorn popper, his new Wall-E Leapster game and his Lightning McQueen jammies. We went out to the pasture and sledded off the biggest hills we could without inflicting permanent damage. Not a word about the missing Mario game.
We cleaned up and drove down to my aunt’s house for Christmas dinner. The boy fought happily with his cousins over toys and tried to eat his body weight in caramel corn. I breathed a sigh of relief. By some miracle, we had dodged sure disaster. I had just kicked back to enjoy a glass of wine when I heard a sound that chilled my blood.
Oh, hell. I’d forgotten. My aunt always wrangles Dutch into playing Santa at her party. As he came tramping down the stairs, my kid’s eyes lit up.
“Mommy! Now I can ask him why he gave me Wall-E instead of Mario.”
Hoo boy. What the heck did we do now? This could get ugly. If Dutch blew it, we could be looking at the end of Santa Claus at the tender age of six. We’re talking parental nightmare here.
For the record, I want you all to know I did NOT pay cousin Beau to jump on Santa’s lap and knock him ass over teakettle into the Christmas tree, thereby distracting everyone to the point that all questions were forgotten.
But I would have if I’d thought of it.
Kari Lynn Dell – Montana for Real