Missing Santa Claus

by Marianne Richmond on December 20, 2005

In December of 1993 when my oldest son was three I read a column in
the Wall Street Journal by David Chartrand called "A Father’s Letter to
Santa." It was one of those moments where the words on a page, written
by a total stranger, simply and succinctly captured something for me
that I couldn’t articulate myself….it made me smile, laugh out loud
and brought tears to my eyes as I read it; I have it still and each
time I read it, it still resonates as so true…. and brings me back to
that very moment fifteen years ago when I could look down at my son,
instead of up, and make wishes that involved Santa Claus.

I did a Google search for the author; it was not the first time that I had done so; this year however, I found an email address on his web site
and asked him if I could reprint it on my blog along with this year’s
Christmas card photo. He generously and immediately, gave me his
permission. The web again makes the world a little smaller and a little
warmer. Although it is probably right here that I can also attribute
blame to this very same web for taking Santa from our Christmases…oh
I will take the blame myself, I should have been more careful; but in
1999 I began ordering Christmas presents on-line and as the boxes
arrived from e-toys my oldest son
noticed the return address was not the North Pole, and Santa’s gig was
up. And so was mine, for the second time in my life. I took it better
the first time, at five. This time I was old enough to really miss
having Santa at Christmas time….he adds so much.

A Father’s Letter to Santa

by David Chartrand

Dear Santa

MY FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY scribbled out his Christmas list. It’s there by the fireplace. The Coke and M&Ms are from him, in case you’re hungry. You know 5-year-olds these days. The Cheezits are from me.
Santa, if you don’t mind, I thought I’d go ahead and leave my list, too. It’s long, but do what you can. It’s all I want for Christmas.

Christmas List From His Father
              Santa, let my little boy grow up still believing that he has the funniest dad in the neighborhood.
              Give him many close friends, both boys and girls. May they fill his days with adventure, security and dirty fingernails.
              Leave his mom and me some magic dust that will keep him just the size he is now. We’d just as soon he stayed 5 years old and three feet, four inches.
              If he must grow up, make sure he still wants to sit on my lap at bedtime and read The Frog and the Toad.
              If you can help it, Santa, never let him be sent into war. His mother and I love our country, but we love our 5-year-old boy more. While  you’re at it, give our world leaders a copy of "The Killer               Angels," Michael Shaara’s retelling of the Battle of Gettysburg.  May it remind them that too many moms and dads have wept at Christmas for soldiers who died in battles that needn’t have been fought.
              Let our house always be filled with slamming doors and toilet seats, which are the official sounds of little boys.
              Break it to him gently, Santa. that his dad won’t always be able to carry him to bed at night or brush his teeth for him. Teach him courage In the face of such change.
              Let him understand that no matter how nice you are to everyone,  the world will sometimes break your heart. As you know, Santa, a child’s feelings are fragile as moth wings.
              Let him become a piano player, a soccer star or a priest. Or all three. Anything but a tax-and-spend Democrat.
              Give him a hunger for books, music and geography. May he be the first kid in kindergarten to be able to find Madagascar on a map.
              The kid’s a born artist, Santa, so send more crayons. May our kitchen window and refrigerator doors be ever plastered with his  sketches of surreal rainbows and horses with big ears.
              Through the years, steer him oh so carefully to that little girl destined to be his bride. Let his mother and me still be aroound when he walks her down the aisle. If there’s a just God, let her daddy be obscenely rich.
              Grant him a heart that will cherish what his parents did right and forgive us for the mistakes we surely will have made over a lifetime of raising him.
              Let him not hold it against us that he was born with my chin and his mother’s ears. Time will teach him that these are god’s ways of girding him for life’s adventure.
              Hold him steady on the day that he learns the truth about you and the Easter Bunny. May he take the news better than I did.
              While you’re flying around the heavens, Santa, make sure God has heard our prayer for this child: lead this little boy not into temptation; deliver him from evil.
              Be careful out there, Santa. And close the flue on your way up.

David Chartrand is a syndicated newspaper columnist and author of "A View From
the Heartland." You may see his work at www.davidchartrand.com, or email him at
dvc@davidchartrand.com.  Reprinted by permission

Both of my children took the news about Santa pretty well…my
younger son held out for a year longer after he figured it out.  He
told me he didn’t want to spoil it for me. I appreciated that. I also
hoped that he wanted to linger with Santa just a little longer himself.


Christmas 2005…Best wishes!

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