"Will you come visit me in Florida, Santa?" - Madison Wnek
Last night, Cooper and Jen and Bill and I took the kids to the Towson tree lighting. The ceremony itself was fun, but not all that exciting (it's great to watch the lights go on, but it really only takes a few seconds) but the real fun came a few hours after the event was over.
See, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at the end of the ceremony. Ever since Halloween ended, Dixon and Maddy have been talking nonstop about Santa Claus. I have heard "ask Santa for that PLEEEEAAASE?" from Dixon about fifty times a day since the end of October. Maddy even has her very own personal elf, Sugarbelle, monitoring her behavior in anticipation of Santa's arrival. They grasp the commercial nature of the season. Not surprisingly.
So we expected a lot of excitement at the first glimpse of the real Santa. Dixon and Maddy were ready and waiting, perched on Bill and Cooper's shoulders, chattering away about Santa Claus when all of a sudden, Santa's firetruck approached (lead by a holiday-themed Ben Franklin, for some reason we couldn't quite grasp). We expected screams, squeals, wiggles.
We got...nothing. Dixon and Maddy both just sat, perfectly still, staring at Santa and Mrs. Claus. It's possible that one of them managed a faint wave, but that was about it. No words and definitely no desire to give Santa a hug or to say "Merry Christmas".
Which was fine. We didn't want to push it. But as it turns out, maybe they were just hungry.
While all the less fortunate parents followed Santa into Ridgely Ferrin to chat about Christmas lists or whatever, we hightailed it over to Strapazza and found a booth (and tried to remember how people fit in that restaurant when it was just the one room - it was so small!). We ordered the kids some pizza and the grownups some wine, got some crayons from our very sweet and abused waitress, and settled in for some dinner and possibly even conversation.
Then, about an hour into dinner, it happened. Santa and Mrs. Claus rolled through the restaurant, just making the rounds, handing out a few candy canes. At this point, comfortable in their seats and fortified by pizza, Dixon and Maddy were finally ready to talk to Santa. And they certainly did. Waving hello, shouting "Merry Christmas", generally squealing "Santa! Santa!" like tweenie girls at a Jonas Brothers concert (as an aside: Jonas Brothers, least appropriate Cowboys halftime show ever?). In short, they were excited.
And Santa and Mrs. Claus, well, they delivered. Lots of "ho ho hos" and reassurances to Maddy that Santa would, in fact, find her at her grandparents' house in Florida.
Dixon's still glowing this morning.
Oh, and the food? It was good. So was the service (and believe me, I would've been dreading waiting on our table - three kids under three? No thanks.) But all of that paled into comparison to the big Santa sighting.