by Lillian Csernica on December 20, 2013
Every now and then, in the middle of all the planning and sorting out schedule conflicts and the dread of last-minute disasters, you get lucky. Every now and then, God reaches down and hands you a Perfect Moment.
On Tuesday, John’s aide and I scooped him up right after school and headed for the mall where he wanted to talk to Santa Claus. I’d been careful to tuck John’s wish list into my purse so John could hand the original to Santa. (I made a copy for the ongoing reference of all the gift-givers.) Traffic was mild at that time of day. I knew which parking lot would get us close to where Santa Claus’ photo booth was set up. Sure enough, there was plenty of parking. The three of us made our way into the mall and found the photo booth fresh and shiny with its Christmas trees and red carpeting and the bright blue couch where Santa sits, a couch big enough for family or group photos.
John led the way through the gate in the enclosure. There was no line. Nobody at all! The photographer and her assistant were off to one side, chatting. There sat Santa Claus. Not the same man from years past, but a man who could well have been the actual Santa Claus himself. He was everything you read about in “The Night Before Christmas.” No pipe, but he did have that twinkle in his eye.
Santa Claus spotted John and beckoned him over. I went to the exit where I could watch and still let John have his privacy. Santa Claus made room for John on the couch and patted the cushion beside him. John sat down and they went over John’s list item by item. When John stood up to leave, Santa gave him a candy cane, then glanced over at me, flashed me a grin, and gave John another candy cane saying, “Here’s one for your Mom.” They shook hands, Santa Claus blew John a kiss, and John walked over to me, his smile so bright it brought tears to my eyes.
But wait! There’s more!
We turned to go join John’s aide where she stood waiting. There, standing beside her, were my mother and my sister! I had no idea my sister had taken my mother shopping in that very mall. They had seen John and me walking over to Santa Claus’ photo booth and hurried over to stand with his aide. Grandma and John’s Aunt got to be there to see John talk to Santa Claus, the one part of the season that really means the most to John. My mother was so happy, and my sister was pleased too. To have coordinated that moment on purpose would have been almost impossible. There we stood, our family, all of us so happy for John.
It was a Perfect Moment.