Yesterday I met a friend at a museum so we could take the kids to see Santa. Luke was so excited. He absolutely loves the museum and I do too. We arrived and immediately got in line. As a parent to young kids anytime I see a line, I cringe. Expecting any young child to wait patiently is unrealistic. I always expect and prepare for those moments of restlessness. This line was the best line I have ever seen. There was a guy with a guitar singing Christmas songs…it was almost magical. Luke and his friend danced with huge smiles, giggling and just had fun. The guitar man took turns and sang individually with each group and Luke even helped him play guitar. Once we got to Santa things changed fast. Luke hid behind something and I held his hand and gently brought him to Santa. Santa was not to thrilled to have to slow down and deal with a timid boy. Not one smile came from Santa. He simply directed me to sit on the arm of the chair with Luke on my lap. Luke sat there and stared at Santa. Santa did not look at Luke and the most importantly did not ask him what he wanted for Christmas. Instead Santa looked at me and told me Luke was a handful and he was going to get me Aspirin for Christmas. Santa proceeded to direct the helpers to snap the picture and asked how long the line was outside. When we went to leave he again said something about Luke being a handful. I would have been more understanding if Luke was kicking and screaming. Luke was quiet or I should say he was silent because nothing came out of his mouth. How exactly is timidity equate to being a handful?

The rest of the day Luke was sad and there was a major meltdown that I don’t even want to replay. Once we were home Luke took a much needed nap. I talked to my husband on the phone and we decided how we would handle it. When Luke woke up we talked. He said something about Santa not being nice and he was scared. I explained that the real Santa lives in the North Pole and he has helper Santas…unfortunately that one wasn’t the best. His response was, “Oh, I like the real Santa. Not the one at the museum.”

The Santa experience was a reminder of hard parenting is. You can’t always shelter them from the not so nice people. Magical moments turn ugly fast and that’s life and we can’t dwell on it. The most important thing is being there to help your kid get through it.

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