I will admit it upfront – I’m a dreamer and I’m a believer. I’m theatrical and down deep in my soul lurks an inner Liberace who is just screaming to be let loose to tear it up.
I’m a little kid at heart – stuck in an old lady’s body. I’m a dreamer and I’m a believer. I still dream of and long for world peace. I dream that there will be cures for all illnesses. I love sappy Christmas movies. I’m a believer. I am just going to come right out and say it – I believe in Santa Claus. I still can’t sleep on Christmas Eve because I am too excited. I swear that I hear the clippity-clappity of reindeer hooves on my rooftop.
Being a grandparent enables you to relive your childhood – for the third time! The first go round was experiencing all the joys and excitement for myself. The second time was with my children. And now? It’s wonderful to shove the cynicism down deep and marvel at the wonder and joy of the world and Christmas through my granddaughters’ eyes.
Two weeks ago my friend Tina and I loaded the girls up in my SUV and embarked on a grand adventure to the North Pole. It was over a two-hour drive each way to the Dennison Railroad Depot. Once there we donned ourselves in pajamas and boarded the Polar Express Train. We eagerly waited for the Conductor to call out “All Aboard” and then stride down the aisle to punch our Golden Ticket.
(Side note on the trip – a week before our trip, I put the Polar Express movie DVD in the player while I was babysitting the girls. We had read the book before but had never seen the movie. The movie is well, it’s rather “intense” and it scared the beejeebus out of my older granddaughter. Oh heck, let’s be honest, it scared the beejeebus out of me as well!) During the movie scene of the conductor kicking the little girl off the train and then making her walk on the top of the train Mackenna exclaimed, “Oh we are NOT going to ride the Polar Express Train now!” “Oh yes, we are!” I retorted. “I bought these tickets back in June and they are nonrefundable!” And then I quickly ejected the DVD! )
We made ourselves comfy in our First Class seats and noshed on hot chocolate and cookies as the train chugged and choo-choo’ed its way up to the North Pole. It was dark outside but we pressed our faces to the glass and could spy twinkling lights. A storyteller read the Polar Express Book to us and little elves coated our arms with glitter. We sang Christmas carols and the youngsters did the limbo. Soon we arrived at the North Pole! We peered out the window and saw Santa’s Workshop and his reindeer’s barn! There was a clatter at the back of our car and who should appear but Jolly Old Saint Nick himself! He visited with all of the children and presented each with a silver bell from the harness of one of his reindeer. Althea sat on my lap and stared at Santa and never uttered a word! Mackenna leaned around and told him, in rapid-fire speech, everything that she wanted. Her little voice went up several octaves as she told him that she had been a good girl and that she wanted trolls, a watch, and a super hero doll. She had to take several gulps of air because she was talking so fast. Santa, Tina and I all chuckled. As he was walking away, she yelled as an afterthought, “And we moved to the pond!” Santa nodded that he knew that.
We rode the train down the tracks, back to the depot station. The girls clutched their bells and their dolls and snuggled under blankets in their car seats. Tina laughed good-naturedly when OnStar took us on an alternate route and we had to do at least four updated routes. There were a lot of “recalculations.” The rain turned to snow and we finally arrived home at 11:00 pm.
Christmas Day is nine days away as I type this column. Our tree is finally up but I don’t have one single present wrapped. What I do have is that same sense of happiness and wonder that I had when I was a little girl. I know that I won’t sleep on Christmas Eve. And I know that I WILL hear those bells – because, well, because I’m a dreamer and a believer and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Here’s to a grand and glorious 2017 to all of us!