Wednesday, December 13, 2006
She was only six years old. Jillian's eyes, green like her mama's, watched me with enthusiasm make Santa heads out of old pantyhose, some cotton, and some thread. I was into crafts in those days. The year was 1982. We lived in a little town called Mogadore, Ohio. It was a kinder, more gentle time. Aaron was in school that day and Jillian had a bad cold, so I kept her home with me ... oh, so many years ago now. I remember this day vividly, because Jilly and I hung around the house and baked cookies then decorated the tree. She stayed in her Holly Hobbie pjs and we turned on some Christmas carols before settling down on the couch with our "Santa craft."
That particular year was the year of stuffed Santas. (It was the 80s, what can I say?) I stuck those awful things on all our packages and on the tree, as well.
"Me too, Mommy." Of course, how can you say no to a brilliant six-year-old, which she was. At that age, Jillian was reading Aaron's second grade books and doing third-grade math. So, I threaded a needle for her, showed her how to use it and said, "Be very, very careful or you'll prick your finger like Sleeping Beauty and not wake up until after Christmas!" Anyway, the child was too smart to buy that line of crap. She laughed at me, as usual. But, darn, that little blonde-headed beauty gave it her best shot.
She worked the needle back and forth and told me not to look. We cuddled up together on the couch that day with our crafts and talked about what she and her brother wanted from the "real" Santa. E.T. lunchbox, E.T. bedspread, E.T. TV trays, E.T. doll!
"All done! Open your eyes, Mommy!" I looked at it. I smiled. I sighed. It had to be the ugliest looking Santa I'd ever seen. And she knew it. I've always said, Jillian's heart has been filled with tears since birth. The child (now a grown woman) could cry easier than eating a Christmas cookie. (She still can.) God knows, I can stand anybody's tears, but hers.
"It's awful ugly, Mommy." The tears fell.
How do you agree with a little girl that's tried so hard? "Well," I said. "I think it's cute. It looks like ... IT LOOKS LIKE E.T. SANTA!" The tears dried up, the smile came back, and all was right with the world.
And so goes the story of E.T. Santa. The movie was just out back then. Everything was all about E.T. for my kids that year. And ever since then, E.T. Santa has been on my tree. It's a memory I'll cherish always. E.T. will be passed down to Jillian, but not before I enjoy it a while longer.
Christmas isn't Christmas, without it.
Blessings to you and yours.
Posted by Pamela King Cable at 8:16 AM