Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Every year since this rambling has been appearing in this paper I have shared my family’s photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as the experience our boys had with the jolly one and his wife.

It’s the one time a year you get see the faces of the children I write about each week.

Along those lines, it’s a tradition for us to go to Worcester Prep’s annual holiday bazaar, mainly to have the boys’ photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The kids know it and started asking this year about it after Thanksgiving.

At our house, we have photos with Santa from each of the past five years lined up in numerical order, and they are hilarious and special to look at, as each represents a snapshot in time of what our family life was like at that very moment.

The first year Beckett was just 7 months old and he basically sat on Santa’s lap bewildered in his black overalls featuring a holiday reindeer, of course. We took him out of his car seat, placed him on Santa’s lap and Pam and I rushed to get in the photo with him. He didn’t show much excitement or fear. There was really not much of anything remarkable from that first encounter, except for maybe that silly sweater he was sporting and the fact it was the first time.

The next year featured Beckett, 19 months at the time, and our newborn Carson, just 5 weeks old at the time. Carson slept the entire time on Santa’s forearm and probably only weighed about 12 pounds (he weighs 42 pounds now, yikes), while Beckett squeezed out a half-smile, as he seemed confused by the entire situation.

One year later, Beckett had a major meltdown, reaching apparently the age when kids become scared of Santa. The picture featured in this space showed Beckett screaming his head off with his little fists clenched and eyes forced shut. Carson, meanwhile, sat with a blanket stare on his face just taking it all in. The funniest part of the photo to me was Pam and I doing our best to ignore our screaming child and forcing a smile, despite our kid turning heads with his shrieks of agitation.

Last year, Beckett was thrilled to see Santa and couldn’t wait to tell Santa about his wish list, which was topped by a motorcycle of all things. Carson, too, with his Santa sweater, was excited too, but he merely sat in Santa’s lap with two fingers stuck in his mouth.

This year we were browsing around the bazaar when all of a sudden Santa and Mrs. Claus strolled through the grounds. That was all my kids needed, as they, joined by others nearby, followed them to their room and nearly jumped on the sleigh before they could even get settled. There was some firm handholding to keep them under control. Just when I thought I might be holding Beckett’s hand too tight, I looked over and saw Pam had Carson in a similar vice.

During this year’s visit with Santa, the kids reversed their usual roles with Carson giggling up a storm from Mrs. Claus tickling him, and Beckett indicating this was serious business and appearing to take a shining to Santa’s pointer finger. Pam was holding Carson’s hand down because he was apparently intent on giving his big brother some chin music, and I was just hoping the photographer was able to get at least one good shot so we could grow our collection of annual Santa photos.

From my family to yours, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

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