I grew up in a family that celebrates St. Nicholas Day. Very few things are as exciting as waking up to find a shoe filled with candy, usually chocolate candy. (Ok, anything filled with chocolate candy is exciting. Maybe. I’m sure we can sit around thinking of places we don’t wish to find chocolate candy. Like a working toilet. But I digress.) When I became a parent, I followed the tradition, adding my own of shopping for Toys for Tots on St. Nick’s Day to encourage giving and empathy.
This year I forgot to buy the candy, but never fear. My mom bought Hershey Kisses for the Christmas tree ornaments my great aunts made us as kids where Santa fills them with candy when he comes. (Yeah, thank you to my unmarried, nearly nuns great aunts. It’s like that damned elf.) She gave me the rest of the bag. And she even told me her plan before I went shopping, so really I didn’t forget to buy the candy. I just forgot I didn’t have to.
But you know what I did forget. To have the boys put out their shoes.
Until the next morning.
When Evan said.
“MOM! St. Nick didn’t come!”
He held out his shoe to show me.
“OH NO! I mean. (Sigh) I mean. Did you leave it outside your door?”
“Well, maybe he couldn’t find your shoe. Maybe he’ll come tomorrow night.”
God, I sound so lame.
Great. I destroyed my children’s belief in magic before the age of 10. I really wanted them to believe in magic. Somewhere a fairy is dying.
“Well, get to your teeth brushed. (Check the clock.) NOW! We’re running LATE (again!)!”
I ran upstairs before them to check their rooms for- Wait! Their Crocs. (I know. Not my idea. Not my money. But at least, they’re easy to get on.) Their Crocs are in their rooms. Under their bed. And they – they are in the bathroom. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! I can save St. Nick’s Day.
I ran out of their room and down the stairs, passing them half way down.
“GET INTO THE BATHROOM! BRUSH YOUR TEETH!”
I ran into the garage and grabbed the candy out of the diaper bag. (Is it any wonder I forgot?) I wrapped the candy in a Mama Shirt and ran upstairs, where I found the boys barely entering the bathroom.
“Are you kidding me? GET IN THERE AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH!”
I turned and walked into their room, tossing the Mama Shirt onto Aidan’s bed as I passed the nursery. No time to carefully measure out the same amount-
I heard footsteps.
“GET BACK IN THAT BATHROOM!”
Really, I’m embarrassed by all the yelling. God, I sound like my mother.
“EVAN HIT ME!”
“EVAN! BRUSH YOUR TEETH! SEAN. BRUSH YOUR TEETH! NOW!”
Sean stomped back to the bathroom. My poor kids have no chance on NOT being loud.
I finished filling a Croc each and moved into the nursery like a ninja.
“WASH YOUR FACES!”
No shoes. Aidan was wearing his shoes. His Crocs. Well, that’s another sad story. I made a pile of Kisses on the floor at the corner of his bed. That will have to do. I snuck into my room. Like a ninja. And hid the rest of the bag among the Christmas presents.
Done and done. (Enter the typical Fae hand gesture that is done with that phrase.)
I checked the mirror.
“MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!”
Evan ran into my room with his Croc in his hand.
“LOOK! LOOK! He did come! He did! And look at all the candy!”
He ran out the room, calling “SEAN! Look in your Croc!”
St. Nick’s Day is saved. And magic lives. And I had nothing to do with it.
“No eating the candy! Get your shoes on! Jesus, look at the time!”