Monday, December 14, 2015

The Love in Santa's Hug

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Santa was always incredible in my childhood; but has been beyond exceptional in the childhood of my children.  It takes a really special person to be able to see past Noah's challenges, to love him anyway - to accept him anyway.  Santa brings this beautiful magic and Christmas spirit into Noah's life during the holiday season.   Noah has always embraced Christmas as his favorite time of year.  The time of year when the impossible always feels like it can become possible.  Where dreams become real and the magic feels endless.  Because of Noah's extreme sensory challenges and the need to keep him away from overcrowded public places that can breed a host of germs that could be a health threat for Noah, we always try to find ways to invite Santa into our home or visit him by personal appointment. 

Although I didn't attend my high school reunion this year, I still managed to reconnect with friends that were a part of my life years ago.   A high school friend named Molly had mentioned her father (who was our math high school teacher), was now Santa.  I'd like to tell you that somehow this was all chance.  But it's not.  There are so many things in life that we want to chalk up to coincidence but the ways in which we connect and situations that come to be are orchestrated by something much bigger than ourselves.  Molly, growing up I know had her own challenges.  She was born with a cleft lip and pallet, but that was never the first thing I seen.  I always thought Molly was very pretty.  Even to this day in pictures she's incredibly beautiful and doesn't at all appear to be aging! I imagine her challenges made her spirit as beautiful as her exterior.  And it felt really wonderful to reconnect with her.  She probably doesn't even know how much I cared for her all these years later. 

I honestly thought maybe it would be a long shot knowing how busy Santa is this time of year with his calendar I asked her if her dad would be willing to do a home visit for Noah and Luke.  Without hesitation she coordinated finding a time that her dad could be available to visit Noah.  

Math was never my strongest subject.  I was good at a lot of things, but math was never one of them.  And to this day I often find myself counting on my fingers trying to make sure no one notices and guessing at approximate percentages off when shopping sales.  Although I managed to pull off a great grade in his class because of my dedication to remain in the running for Valedictorian, I did struggle and had to work twice as hard as many of my peers did in order to pass tests.   I rather envisioned that Santa would remember I wasn't his strongest math student and would wonder how I was getting along with only being able to minimally add and subtract. 

Years later I don't think it mattered to Santa about math not being my best subject.  His eyes gleamed and his smile was big and bright as he seen the little boy he came to see laying on the floor when he arrived through our door.   We thought that Noah and Luke would both love to sit on Santa's lap together.  Noah gave it a great college try, but in under a minute on Santa's lap his signature sensory gag reflex presented itself.  Possibly an indication of being overly excited, or perhaps he didn't want to share Santa's lap with his little brother.  Some of Noah's sensory triggers are still a mystery to us.  

Santa didn't bat an eye, nor did he take it to heart.   He looked at Noah so lovingly and with tremendous understanding and decided that he'd simply join Noah on the floor where Noah was most comfortable.   Santa brought two books with him and a bag full of miniature candy canes.   He opened up his first book The Night Before Christmas and started to read to the boys.  Luke on one side, and Noah sitting on his daddy's lap on the other.   Noah's face lit up and he began to smile, laugh and squeal with delight.  Santa carefully showed Luke how to unwrap his mini candy cane and still have it partially in the wrapper so he didn't get his tiny fingers sticky.   Luke following directions from Santa and Noah giggling with every Ho, Ho, Ho. 

Magic filled our living room.  And somehow I felt like I could hear every angel in existence singing a sweet Christmas carol right into my depths of my heart and soul.   Santa finished his first book and then moved onto Olive, The Other Reindeer.  When you're watching this sweet interaction for just a brief moment in time all feels right with the world.  In all the mess of and complications the holiday season brings, there was this blissful moment with my boys and Santa huddled on the floor together.

Santa was so very patient and had explained that he had been to Children's Hospital earlier in the day where he was in a little room and was able to talk to sick children via a monitor in their rooms.  So he understood fully the gravity of what we were dealing with.  Children as often medically fragile as butterflies.

Luke is a bit shy and a tad cautious of everyone... including Santa.  Although he did back into a hug and told Santa that Noah would really like a Minion with a Guitar, and that he wants a Tonka Police Car, Polar Book and Five Avengers which he whispered as if it were a secret.  We're not quite sure how Luke knows Noah's wishlist, but each year he tells us what Noah wants.  I think it's brotherly telepathy.  Which is good because Luke sometimes knows what Noah needs or wants before I do.  Luke is a very serious child, partially I think because of having an older brother that has a severe disability.  He doesn't often kid around or joke and does not yet know how to lie.  His innocence an equal match to Noah. 

Luke was really inquisitive of Santa as to where his reindeer were.  Santa explained that his reindeer only fly once a year and that he was driving his Subaru until then. Luke and Noah seemed to like that clarification. Santa's goodbye hug filled with an abundance of unspoken words as I told him how thankful I was for his visit.  His simple, yet tender and warm reply was "I know."

Luke watched Santa drive away at the window, and Noah beamed with happiness. Maybe our Christmas will be really small this year, but it's so big in so many other ways.  Christmas is not for dwelling on all that you've lost but for counting the blessings for what you still have.  Remember to always keep a warm and open heart and spread all the joy you can all around you.


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.