As we walked off the big stage where the sleigh was stationed in the mall, I kept looking over my shoulder at Santa, expecting a wagging finger, a scolding stare, or security to come up and ask me more questions.
We had bundled the boys up into their best wintry sweaters for the annual climb up on Santa’s knee to plead worthiness and ask for gifts in return. This year the mall has made things uber convenient by allowing you to reserve your visit online ahead of time. We reserved 6:50pm, enough time to have a Friday night dinner out and wander the mall before seeing the big guy.
“What are you going to ask Santa for?,” I asked my boys at dinner. Zacharie immediately launched in to random stories about drones, and LEGO, and books, while Charlie answered a little meekly.
“I want a punch in the face,” he sighed.
Charlie has only lost one tooth so far. He’s a little disappointed he’s behind his best buddy (who’s had 8 chicklets fall out), and he’d really really really like the other loose one up front to fall out.
“I just want Santa to punch me in the face so my toof falls out,” he lisped.
We had a ‘family sitcom lesson’ styled conversation about growing up at different rates, teeth falling out, and how it would happen eventually and he didn’t need a punch in the face to make it happen.
Still, among the “ho ho hoing” and candy canes and whispers in the ear while he was smiling for Santa, Charlie told the big guy he wanted to be punched in the face.
My wife and I’s faces fell flat when Charlie told us he had followed through with the request.
“What did Santa say?,” we asked, shocked.
“He laughed and asked me what I really wanted,” Charlie whispered. “I told him I really want a punch in the face so my toof falls out for Christmas.”
And that’s when our nervous giggles kicked in and we started looking over our shoulder, hustling our growing up too fast for us, not fast enough for himself, little guy home still wishing.. for a punch in the face.