I wasn't still quite sure that little man would understand Christmas this year. His first Christmas he was just four days old. The next two Christmases were fun, but little man was definitely confused as to why there was a tree in our living room. He was even more confused when we placed the brightly colored boxes in front of him and told him to tear into them when for the last month he been expressly told NOT to touch them (or even think of touching them) AT ALL.
But this weekend I was pleasantly surprised to catch on that this year little man gets it.
It all started with a showing of The Polar Express on television. We thought it would be something fun for him to watch while us grown-ups finished our wine and chatted.
But it ended up being so much more.
Little man sat enamored throughout the entire movie - eyes wide open and mesmerized. When Santa appeared he let out a giant squeal and pointed to the screen "Mommy SANTA!"
Then I sat mesmerized, looking at my little boy. For the first time I witnessed what is probably the most fun, most exciting aspect of childhood ... Christmas.
My obsessive-compulsive and manic planning mind kicked into full gear. This was the year. The year when the magic of Santa would come to our house. There were stockings to be hung, cookies to be baked and would it be too much to climb on my roof with jingle bells on Christmas Eve and leave little reindeer footprints in our yard?
And yes, I really did think that.
Once the movie was over little man begged to watch it again. I was also struck with the appropriateness of the story of The Polar Express. I had forgotten, until I saw it in my son's eyes, about the magic of Christmas.
I bent down to little man and snatched him up.
"Is Santa coming to our house?" I asked him.
"Yeah, Santa's COMING!" Little man said.
"What do you want Santa to bring you?" I asked, crossing my fingers and hoping he would say the right thing to vindicate me to my husband who was skeptical that little man needed the overly expensive robotic dinosaur toy I had bought him.
"A dinoswaour," he said, smiling. "I want a dinoswaour."
As little man smiled, so did I. And as I looked up at my husband, he, too was smiling. Not because of the robotic dinosaur hiding in our basement, but because he too sensed the magic of Christmas in little man and was also suddenly transported back to the days of our childhood, when Santa was real. When Christmas was the most magical, most exciting time of the year.
This year is going to be fun.
And it didn't hurt that mommy was right about Spike the dinosaur, either.