Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Day Santa Died!

November 29, 2010. I will remember this date forever. The day that our lives changed forever. The day that we lost our a part of our life that we will never get back. The day that Santa died (at least in our house).

I knew it couldn't last forever. Nothing ever does. But, when it sneaks up on you and you are not prepared, it stings like a slushy snowball in the face.

Yesterday, Scout and I were sitting at the table visiting about school and other events of the day. She was doing her math homework while we visited. I asked her about Christmas and what she really wanted. I ask her if she was still interested in an iTouch or a DSI because I needed to have a discussion with Santa soon so that he could start getting her things ready. She looked up and said, "You can't talk to Santa. You wouldn't have any idea how to talk to him." I replied, "What are you talking about? Parents always know how to reach Santa." She paused a minute and said, "You're Santa, aren't you?" I immediately dismissed it and said something like, "What in the world are you talking about? Just finish your homework." I was stricken immediately with fear and looked at Cindy as she cooked dinner with an "Oh, no!" look on my face. We moved on to other stuff and thought that it was over - at least for now.

An hour later, as we'd finished up with dinner, Nik got up and left the table so that he could get ready for Lacrosse practice. As we finished up, Scout was still at the table, pushing her food around so that it would look like she was eating her food. I don't remember how the conversation came back around to Santa, but it did. I believe that Cindy asked Scout why was questioning the reality of Santa or something like that. It's all a blur now, but it was discussed again, nonetheless. I remember Cindy saying something like, "Scout, why do you think that there is no Santa?". Scout replied, "I don't know. I just think that Dad is the one who gets up at night and puts the toys under the tree." We asked her a couple more questions about it, but it came down to her asking the ultimate question - "Do you promise that you are not Santa?"
I looked at Cindy and we both knew at that minute, Santa will die in our home tonight. Cindy immediately started to cry. I looked at Scout with tears in my eye and said, "Sweetheart, I don't know what to say. I can't look at you and lie. But, if you are making me promise, then I have to tell you that.......I am Santa." I immediately started to cry. So, here we are, sitting at the table with our sweet little girl, with tears in our eyes, trying to compose ourselves. Scout looked at Cindy and started to cry as well. She kept patting her and saying, "Mom, don't cry, don't cry. It's OK. I'm not mad." Cindy said, "We aren't crying because you are mad, or that you're sad. We are crying because we're losing our little girl. You're growing up and it's hard for us to let that go."

Well, as I type this, I am once again starting to well up with tears. I have not been this emotional about anything in a very long time. I'm not sure why this milestone is so powerful to us, but it is. When Nik stopped believing it was more like a right of passage. We knew our boy was getting bigger. But, when it's your baby girl, it ain't the same. It just doesn't feel like anything that I've ever felt. I could never describe it, but I'm sure that I'm not the only parent to feel this way.

I am sad because there is no more Santa in our house. I am sad because there is no one left here to believe in Santa. And, I am sad because I will not get to eat cookies and milk left out for Santa while I write a clever note to leave behind for Scout to read. I am very sad. Santa has left the building...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Ripple Effect...

It's been quite some time since I've blogged. Funny how your job, your kids, your marraige, and life seems to get in the way of writing about it.

For most people that know me, this story is old, so you may not care a lick about reading it. This is going to be written as a place marker in my life when I got confirmation from God that he has big plans for my son. CIndy and I have always felt like the Lord has some in store for Nik. Not sure why we think that. Maybe all parents think that. If you do, great! But, Nik is so far ahead of where I was when I his age in maturity (spiritually and mentally). It's crazy watching such "grown up" things come from him that I am afraid that I am going to screw something up and not be the Dad that he needs to accomplish everything in store for him. Sure, he's a kid and he fights with Scout and he does things that drive us crazy. He has horrible table manners, his room is a mess, and he doesn't listen to anything we ask him to do the first dozen times we give him orders or chores to do. It's something else. He has a sense of "doing what is right" without us having to prod him. He thinks about others. He thinks about the future. To me, that is freaky for a 12 year old.

Let me get on with my story -

Nik came home from school a couple of weeks ago and told Cindy that he really felt like he needed to do something for the people in Haiti. He said that he'd been thinking about them all week and just felt that he needs to get involved some way. So, he decided to call his neighborhood buddies together that night and plan a garage sale. That evening, several boys showed up and off they went. They painted signs and went home to clean out their closets. In addition, they asked for other neighbors to donate things for the garage sale. So, the following Monday morning (MKK Day) the doors opened and they were off. They had boys down the street waving cars over and asking for donations. They pointed up the street to the sale and invited them to come up and "shop". It was so awesome to see the boys working so hard for others in need.
They morning was cloudy and it looked as if it were going to rain, but it held off for until about 11:30am. And, that was all that was needed for the boys to raise $920. That alone was huge, I was amazed that they could get that kind of money in such short time. Mainly because almost nothing was sold. It almost all came form drive by donations. I need to add that, my brother, Ted, offered to match whatever Nik and the boys raised. In addition, he was going to use his company matching program to double it again. Unfortunately, Nik and the boys raised more than he expected and had to cut it off at $500. So, just as a quick tally, this sale was responsible for $1920 (so far).
Nik thought that, since there was so much stuff left over, that they should have another garage sale on Saturday when more people would come out. This gave them time to gather more garage sale items.
That Saturday, they opened the doors at 8:00am and had a big turnout. Many neighbors came out and brought stuff over to sell as well. It seemed like they were bringing in more stuff than they were selling. After about 4 or so hours, the sale ended. They raised another $367.
Here's where it starts getting to be obvious that God's hand is in this:
The following week, the local newspaper called and wanted to cover the story. They interviewed me for a while, then asked for permission to interview Nik and the boys. At the time, I'm writing this, the article has not run.
In addition, the church called and asked if they could do a short video of Nik so that they could show it during the services. The sermon was about serving the poor. So, Matt Coleman came over and taped Nik and made the video (which was great, I must say). As if this wasn't enough, Nik recieved more money at church. $60 from a couple of people and $100 from another. So, the total had grown again to $2527.
As we left church this morning, Andy Beams, who is on staff at church called me over and said that someone came up after one of the services, and was so touched by the video that he decided to donate $2,000 to the Haiti effort as well. God is Good! It's so cool how God does amazing things out of such small ideas. How could a simple idea of a garage sale bring in over $4500 dollars in a matter of a few days!
Nik doesn't realize what he and boys have accomplished. He doesn't even speak of it. I hope that he remains humble. It's such a great quality! But, I, on the other hand, am beaming and so proud of what a big heart he has. I have learned so much from him in the past couple of weeks.
I hope that I can teach him something some day.