As Katie and I drove back from a trip to town, she asked if we could play a game. I agreed and threw out a number of ideas, but none seemed to strike her fancy.
How about we make up stories, Mama? OOh, even better, we can make up CHRISTMAS stories!!
Who am I to argue with a little Christmas spirit in the middle of May? So, off we were.
I went first, per her request. I made up a terrible story about Rudolph with a tummy ache and some magic, reindeer tummy healing carrots that only grow at the North Pole. It was not my best work.
Then it was Katie’s turn.
Once upon a time, she began, it was almost Christmas and Santa was very, very busy. Well, of course he was busy cause it was almost Christmas, but you know what I mean. Well, this one night, he was going through the lists that he makes. He looked over the bad list and the good list, and added some children to them as he went.
Well, on this particular night, something happened. Santa was so busy that he made a really big mistake. There was this boy named Jake and he was really, really bad. But Santa put him on the good list by mistake.
I smiled silently, listening to the pre-adolescent lilt of her voice. I know where this is going, I thought.
As it got closer to Christmas, Santa got busier and busier. And it turns out that he is a pretty forgetful guy. So one day he had some trouble finding the lists. He asked Mrs Claus to help him look, but since she hadn’t been there while he was writing the lists she didn’t know where they might be. They looked everywhere together but couldn’t find them.
But Rudolph knew Santa really well and he said, “Um, Santa, the lists are in your back pocket.”
And he was right! Santa reached into the butt of his pants and pulled out the lists. And there was Jake’s name on the good side. Which wasn’t right at all.
Such a sweet soul, I thought. And what a heartwarming story this will be when it turns out that Santa saw Jake as he really was – a good boy.
Well, Jake’s Mom found out that he was on Santa’s good list.
I could just see Jake’s mom beaming – knowing that Santa’s ‘mistake’ was really anything but – knowing that her dear, sweet boy was so much more than what the world had thought. Gooooooo, Jake’s Mom!
So she called up Santa at the North Pole.
To thank him, no doubt, for seeing past the surface and recognizing the good in her son. This will make such an amazing post, I thought. My wonderful, compassionate daughter spinning the perfect fable. Aesop would be so proud.
To tell him that he had made a huge mistake.
“Santa”, she said, “Jake’s been really, really naughty and he should definitely NOT be on any nice list!”
Oh, wow, bummer.
And Santa was able to fix the mistake and Christmas turned out exactly as it was supposed to be.
She paused briefly for dramatic effect. Her smile started at the left corner of her mouth and curled it’s way to the right.
And Jake got nothing but poop.
Well, so much for Aesop. Hey, they can’t all be winners, folks.