Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Real Santa

Joseph, 2008. The year he met the real Santa
Joseph's preschool was a small Catholic preschool near our house. The class had about 12 students and a great teacher who really loved the kids. There was one little girl that Joseph was close too. He called her "the little girl with all the spots." Within a week of school beginning, we learned that she was born with a conditions that caused "spots" (tumors) on her skin. This condition is often lethal and they were told to not expect her to live until she was five. She often had to go to a doctor in New York for monitoring and couldn't be out in the sun for a long time. The kids knew about this but she was just one of them; there was no teasing, only acceptence and they missed her when she missed school.

That year, the room parents took a collection to have Santa come to the class party. She found a man who played Santa and often came to events where there were special needs children. He asked for some information about the class and instructed the parents to fill out a form about their child. Everyone brought in a gift for their kid to get from Santa.

The day of the class party, Santa came "hohohoing" into the room... and all the kids and parents stopped cold. The kids were in awe and so were we. He was wearing a red suit... with details unlike any we had ever seen. The reds were richer, the whites whiter and the gold and silver just sparkled. He had a real beard and was completely at ease with all the children.

We sat him in a rocker at the front of the classroom and he called each child up by name. He opened his little book and in there were the forms parents had filled out... but he spoke to each child about events and details we hadn't put on the forms. When he pulled the presents out of the bags, he didn't even look at the names on the wrapping paper. He just seemed to know.

At the end of the party, the room mother walked him outside and thanked him for coming. She tried to pay him and he said, "When you told me about the little girl in the class with the rare condition, I looked up information about it on-line. Please take my payment and donate it to a local charity that helps children like her." When the room mother told the other parents about it, we burst into tears.

There really is a Santa. That man is it.

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