Christmas is one of Bryan’s absolute favorite times of year! From a little boy, this day and all of its meaning holds so much significance for him. He also enjoys all of the prep – making candy and cookies, wrapping gifts, singing carols and searching for a Christmas tree in the fields.
It was on one of those December jaunts for the perfect tree when Bryan was a young teenager, that we happened upon Santa ensconced on his “throne” in the big red barn on the campus of the Christmas tree farm in Reading. While my husband and I paid for the tree in a neighboring building, the cousins took Bryan to see the Jolly Old Elf himself. When we came back to find the kids, Bryan was happily perched on Santa’s lap. I was instantly hacked off at that. After all, Bryan was a teen-ager and sitting on a man’s lap at that age disturbed me as inappropriate. Bryan saw nothing at all wrong with that. They chatted for quite some time and I watched the exchange unfold into a lengthy discussion.
The look Mr. Claus gave me as Bryan finally got off his lap gave me cause for concern. This was not the face of “Jolly Old St. Nick”. Santa waved me over into his private orbit. “Bryan has told me that you and your husband have been fighting and arguing lately. He is very upset about this. Just love him. Put aside your differences and just love him.”
I was shocked at Santa’s reproach. How dare he reprimand me! He doesn’t know what we have to go through on a daily basis caring for Bryan. We love him so very much. He doesn’t know that my husband and I love each other unconditionally!
And then I got to thinking on the way home from the farm…Ed and I had been stressed a lot lately. The Christmas Crazies had a hold of us like a bulldog that wouldn’t let go. We had a few heated conversations about how we were going to fit it all in – get it all done before the Big Day – which Bryan had overheard. His interpretation was that we were “fighting”. Arguing upset him.
From that day onward, Ed and I made sure than Bryan understood that mommy and daddy loved each other and that we always resolved our differences with constant communication.
I can still see Santa’s face with its stern expression – now with a chuckle. But still with a lesson learned: God is watching us always. And so are our children. (Proverbs 15:3) “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
The age-old song sums it up as well – “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!”