Santa’s Here

Santa just drove by our house.

I was changing my daughter’s diaper, and I happened to look out the window and there he was, in all his red and white glory, riding silently and slowly passed on an antique fire truck.

I stared, diaper in hand.

Being 34, a mother, a writer, a wife, a bald cancer patient, and a fierce Santa enthusiast, I immediately panicked. I couldn’t miss him. Should I run out and forget her diaper? I looked down at my little daughter. I thought that may be pushing it, so I threw on a diaper but left her shoeless and pant-less, scooped her up and ran out the front door screaming, “SANTA!”

When I was a child, Santa would ride by our house every Christmas Eve in a fire truck with the lights on and because we knew the fire chief, Santa would even stop at our house and walk up all those front steps to give us a candy cane. That magical moment when we heard him on the bullhorn, the engine roaring up Larchmont St., my sisters and I would dash from all sections of the house, screaming, “SANTA’S HERE!” We did that well into our twenties.

I could hear the purr of the antique fire truck at the corner. Neighborhood children and their parents were lining up.

I charged across my snow-capped lawn at full speed with my daughter under my arm like a football. Even though the fire truck was parked, I still felt the urge to scream his name again, in case he jumped on and sped away without seeing us. Huge tears welled in my eyes and I had a hard time stopping them, my feet in their own weird Olympics, hurtling down my street as if I were running to a long-lost lover across the train platform. For that moment I became the crazy lady, my cancer cap riding up over my ears, my unclothed daughter in the cold air, being so needy that I was blind to my own absurdity. I so badly wanted my child to have a normal Christmas. Maybe I wanted one, too. But I kept running until I got there to where a curious Santa stood.

I said, out of breath, my legs shaking from the sprint, “Thank you, Santa,” crying but pretending nobody saw, so oddly eternally grateful for the little candy cane he handed me.

Santa Here by the Ardsley front door - Copy