Some things in life are remarkable. Some other things are just special. Like the first time you ride your bike without the training wheels. Or the first time you see the sea. For me, the most remarkable thing in life, so far, was the first time I got applauded for what I did - truthfully applauded.
My mother and I always had a great kind of relationship. We talked about everything, at any time, and we didn't need a special occasion for that. We sat together to watch movies, soap opera, sitcoms... All kinds of stuff. We sat together to read, to get in time with each other... Everything. She was my best friend of all times - and now she's gone I miss her more than I thought I would.
Once, in one of our nights out, we went to one of her friends place to try some wine. They drank (I didn't, still don't really like alcohol) for a couple hours and then they started talking about old memories. They talked about what they used to do when they hung out and they would laugh all the time with their memories. And then one of her friend's kid came inside the room. It was a 16 year old girl, in a red dress and high heels. She was leaving for a Sweet Sixteen party. She kissed her mom on both cheeks and left.
- You know what? - the woman (her name was Laura) said, looking at her 6,5 feet high Christmas tree - I never stopped telling them Santa Claus would come. I mean, look at her, all grown up. Leaving by herself for a birthday party, wearing make up and high heels. And my boy, Alan, going out with his friends for their "haunt". I still look at them as if they were 6 and 8, you know? They're still babies in my head.
My mom gave me a brief look from the corner of her eye. Of course I knew she still saw me as a 5 year old girl, there was no need of saying that.
She simply gave a nod of agreement and Laura went on.
- I'm always worried about them. Where they are, who they are with, what they are doing... - while saying the last part of the sentence she put her eyes on me and blinked. I pretended not to understand what she meant - And although they keep saying none of this is necessary, I keep doing it. You know what I mean, don't you, Sam?
- Of course, Laura. Works the same for me with my kids.
Hell, if it does, I thought to myself. Even though we had that great relationship, my mom would always step back before letting me go out with my friends. And most times I didn't go. That used to drive me crazy. When I became a mother I began to do the same.
Laura took a short sip of her wine glass and smiled.
- Where was I? Oh, Santa. - she smiled again - As I was saying, I still tell them Santa Claus is coming. Of course they don't believe it anymore, but I still buy them gifts. Every year I ask them "What do you guys want from Santa?" They tell me and I buy. Then, after they go to bed, before I go, I put their presents under their beds and go to sleep. Every year. And neither me or them ever get tired of this.
That got me thinking I needed to try this.
Ten years later I got married. My husband was a tall, red-haird man, around his 30s, who I met at Law School. His name was Carl, although I never really called him that way. It was always Cal to me. Sounded too much better.
When our first baby came to the world (my wonderful Melanie) and was old enough for us to start the Christmas traditions, I told Carl about that night with my mom and her friend Laura. He was amazed with the simplicity, honesty and sweetness of that action, and was nothing more than excited to put it in practice.
She was around 10 when one of her school friends told her there was no such thing is "Santa Claus". When she got home she was crying a lot and it took me a couple hours to calm her down. Then, when she was enough relaxed to listen to me, I explained to her that Santa was a figure to represent how much parents love their kids. That Santa was true, but each family had their own. And that as long as we could, we'd still be giving her presents, signed up as "Santa Clause". She didn't understand that at first, and that year she did not accept the present we bought her. The following years, though, were better.
She's 25 now. My dear Carl is gone for somewhere better and she's got a fiancÚ already. It's Christmas eve and here we are at the family reunion. I promised her Santa Claus will be coming tonight. She laughed at me and said it was no surprise (mostly because she took me to the mall where I bought all the presents). I know she'll take this through the years with her own kids and this is to become a wonderful Christmas tradition. And I'm so thankful for Laura as possible for teaching me the real meaning of Christmas.