My Own Polar Express-Part 1: Finding the Magic Again.

the-polar-express_santa

I grew up with Santa. I LOVED Santa and I remember as little girl sitting in my bed on Christmas Eve anticipating his visit. We moved often when I was growing up, so Santa had to find us in a different place each year. Every year I wondered, “Will he find my sister and me again?” “Did he get the letter I sent?”

He always found us although I am still not sure about my letters.

I remember on each Christmas Eve lying awake in bed thinking of ways he could get inside our house even though we didn’t have a chimney. I always thought of a way. I had a very vivid imagination.
In the fourth grade, I became very curious and skeptical. I wanted to know more about Santa, so I looked him up in the encyclopedia.

Yep.

POOF! The Santa magic was lost…much to my mom’s dismay as I insisted on discussing the matter of my discovery in a car with my seven-year old sister wailing in the back seat. Yes, I destroyed the Santa magic that year for my sister as well.
That was a sad Christmas for me (and my sister, oops!). I felt a little betrayed, although I think I had known the truth for a while. Why did my parents lie to me? Still, I missed the magic and the anticipation of Christmas Eve. I was torn. I think I was more upset that it wasn’t real…or was it?

One year all of that changed and I learned who Santa really was.

I was 13 years old. Practically a grown up in my eyes but that was the year I discovered that Santa was really real.

At the time my sister and I lived with my mom, who was single, working and in school…i.e. Poor.

We were poor.

My mother had bought my sister and me three presents each for Christmas that year. My mom was so excited because this was the first year she had been able to get us what she really wanted to. Since our house was small and there weren’t many places to hide gifts, she went ahead and wrapped them and placed them under the tree many days before Christmas.

I would walk by those presents every day and just thought I would go crazy waiting for Christmas Day! If  you’re wondering, I was the kid that loved surprises, so no, I never peeked.

Then it happened.
We came home one night to find our house had been broken into.

You guessed it, all our presents were gone.

I don’t remember crying, although I am sure I did, but I do remember seeing my mom cry. She cried hard. That had been all that she could buy us that year and it was gone.

I remember my best friends family immediately wanted to help. My grandparents as well.  As appreciative as my mom was, it was still a hard time for us.

The presents were replaced by loving friends and family. We were all so grateful and I learned first hand how giving to others in need can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

But my lesson wasn’t over. On Christmas Eve,  as we were sitting around watching a Christmas special, we heard knocking on the door.

This wasn’t the best neighborhood that we lived in so, to say it startled us would be putting it gently. Especially in light of the circumstances.

All three of us got up to see who was at the door and received the greatest surprise!

There standing on the front porch was Santa and two of his helpers! He had with him a huge bag of gifts! I tried to see who these people REALLY were, but I had never seen them before.

It was Santa and his helpers! THAT is what I knew and still to this day that is all I know. I don’t have any idea what the gifts they brought us were. Isn’t it funny how that stuff goes away? What I do remember is the moment we opened the door on Christmas Eve to see Santa and his helpers standing on our front porch, that feeling of joy and the love we felt from those three strangers standing at our door.

That was the year I rediscovered the magic of Santa and knew without a doubt that when I had children one day, they would experience it as well.

Santa was real! His magic was real!

…to be continued.

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