I have received and read all the letters which you little people have written me with your own hands--for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all.
- Your loving Santa Claus
We went to Macy's last night to mail our letter to Santa. Francesca's truest wishes spelled out in a mix of her handwriting and a little of my own:
toy cars and trucks
The skateboard was an afterthought. And important enough to warrant a third visit to Santa. "I need to tell him about the skateboard," she kept saying. So although we'd seen him twice last week at school, we paid an extra visit on our way to mail the letter.
Nearing the head of the line, there were babies crying as their moms handed them over to Santa, and Fran's eagerness quickly became unease. I thought her visit would end in tears as well, that fear would consume the holly jolly vision of Santa that's had her brimming with magic all month. And then my heart would have broken, too.
But when our time came and he called her over gently, a sense of relief washed over me. Her eyes were wild and she looked my way, but then stepped up to him. He took her hands and sweetly asked what she'd like to have for Christmas. And then that same relief washed over her.
She stood tall and said, "a skateboard," then let him gather her on to his lap, where he whispered in her ear and admired her nail polish. Abundant pride with, no doubt, a tinge of worry spread across her face and now shines through in the studio shot I couldn't have left without.
But it's a pride that radiates the wonder of Christmas and the value in upholding childhood traditions, that truly nothing may compare to seeing Santa face-to-face and penning that special letter when you're three.