By Merisa Sherman
A small toddler, with mousy brown hair and huge oval eyes looks up at her mom while they wait in their line. There are many children here, waiting for there time to sit upon the knee of the man who will hopefully bring him their greatest treasure, if only they were good enough this year. But this little girl has only one thing on her mind and as it comes to be her turn she takes a deep breath as Santa lifts her up into his lap.
“And how old are you, little girl?” the jolly man asks with his big, full belly laugh.
One tiny finger is raised slowly for him to see. Reassuringly, he smiles and asks if she’s been a good girl this year, to which her bowl cut hair bounces up and down.
“So, what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas this year?”
Slowly lifting her head, she looks Santa straight in the eye and in a low, hopeful voice, she whispers: “Skis, please, Santa.”
The man pauses for a moment, taking a deep breathe as he shakes his head. “Perhaps in a few years, when you are older,” Santa replies. “But what can I bring you this year?”
The little girl’s eyes start to fill with tears and she slides off Santa’s lap and slowly makes her way back to her mother. Putting her little hand in her mom’s big one, she leads her mom away from the Santa and away from the Christmas elves taking photos of happy little children.
Again and again, this happened.
Each time they saw Santa, she was told she was too little to have her own skis and to ask again when she was bigger. She couldn’t understand. Mommy had skis. Daddy had skis. She should have skis. She WAS a big girl. She wanted to go to the Big Mountain and go up on the Big Chair to the Tippy Tippy Top. Maybe if she asked again, Santa would finally understand how important this was to her little 18-month-old self. She hugged her teddy tight. Would Santa bring her the one thing she wanted most in the whole wide world?
Sure enough, under the tree on Christmas morning was a pair of teeny, tiny skis and boots, just right for the teeny, tiny little girl. Dolls and teddies were paid no attention as the little girl tried, all by herself, to put on her brand new red boots with the shiny white buckles. Her mommy helped her put on her snowsuit while daddy grabbed the camera: today was going to be the day! She was officially going to be a Big Girl and go skiing on the Big Mountain!
As the young family headed out onto their snow covered lawn, the little girl’s eyes got bigger and bigger. Mommy put her down on the slippery snow and she skied all the way to her daddy, who engulfed her in the biggest, bestest ski huggie ever, swinging her around in a big circle with her skis flying everywhere. There were giggles from the little girl and big whoops from Daddy while Mommy clapped her mittens in delight. Looking over their happy little ski baby, the parents shared a most wonderful smile full of love and Christmas cheer.
And then, after all that begging, I was done. I didn’t want to ski anymore. Apparently, in my enthusiasm for skiing, my parents had neglected to check the thermometer before taking their toddler out for the first time. It was 3 degrees below zero.