Santa Met Micah

Micah saw Santa at the mall, and was quite enamored. I wasn't surprised, because he is always fascinated with costumed characters from afar. It's when they get close his personal space that he starts to freak out over their proximity and decides that awesome is now more in the camp of freakish. He'll retreat to the safety of Far Away as fast as he can, with a look of pure fear on his face. His thoughts are so visible, it's like a bubble hanging over his head in cartoons. They say, "buddy, you get anywhere near me and one of us is going down."

Each time Micah passed the mall Santa, he'd stop and wave. Unfortunately, he generally did this from the upstairs balcony, and Santa was downstairs. Santa just didn't see him with the Friday evening crowd going on between them. The last time we walked by on the way out of the mall, Micah stood at the railing and yelled a greeting (it sounded like "AAAAAAHHHHHHH") and was very loud. Because it's Micah, it was loud enough to fill the upstairs and downstairs mall space, swirl around a Friday evening crowd of shoppers, and grab the attention of Santa himself. Santa looked up to see Micah frantically waving from the balcony, and waved back.

Santa rocks.

So I knew that I had to take Micah to see Santa. We took the escalator downstairs, and it practically dumped us out in Santa's workshop. Micah grabbed my hand in both of his and led me directly to the end of the line. He oh-so-patiently waited his turn while Santa held a baby that was quite fascinated with his very real white beard. Santa's helpers took their time getting the best photos of the interaction. And Micah waited, eager with excitement.

Honestly, I was surprised. Not since Disney has Micah been excited to meet someone dressed up. He loves them, mind you, and is quite fascinated with them, but only from a distance. That personal space thing he wants from them is about the size of a 10' radius. Space is good.

When it was Micah's turn to visit with Santa, he practically ran up to the jolly old elf. Thank goodness he decided that he was a bit big to sit on Santa's lap, because at 70 pounds he'd have thrown the geriatric elf's back out lifting him. Santa asked Micah what he wanted for Christmas, and Micah suddenly got shy. It's that I Can't Talk thing kicking in. I mean, what's a nonverbal kid going to do when someone asks them a question that they can't answer? It's more polite to simply drop your eyes and pretend you don't know what to say than to stare defiantly into someone's eyes and not say a word. Even kids with mental handicaps know this. Micah glanced over at me for some help, and I signed "book" since it would be something easily picked up by a non-signer. Micah told Santa that he would like a book. Santa now knew that he was dealing with a nonverbal child, and bless his heart, he did not stop talking to Micah.

I was utterly amazed at the level of patience and genuine affection the mall Santa showed each child. It was Black Friday, after all, and I'm sure he had to be completely exhausted. And tired of kids. And their parents. I thanked Santa as we were leaving, and I have never heard a more sincere answer. "It was my pleasure, ma'am."

I cried as I walked through the mall, holding my son's hand.


Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

I cried when I read this. As always, I could have written this. I'm so happy for Micah. What a precious early Christmas present ... for both of you.

Leanne said...

Lovely. Make sure you tell the mall admin. people or better yet, send them this link, they need to pass it along to him too. People who make a difference should be told and thanked by those who hire them too..

Carol N. said...

Thank goodness for the real Santa!

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

God love that Santa.