Friday, November 29, 2019


I was about brought to tears by another children's book this evening. This time it was The Lighthouse Santa by Sara Hoagland Hunter and I started choking back tears while reading the author's note at the very beginning of the story (of all ridiculous places to start crying).

It's a true story based on an experience of a man—Edward Rowe Snow—who flew around delivering Christmas surprises to lighthouse keepers and their families (who lived very secluded lives) for forty years. And that's just so nice (cue tears).

The rest of the story was rather easy to read (and I didn't actually end up crying). Benjamin announced that it was a very "calming" story. And it truly was. Simply beautiful.

Zoë keeps asking whether Santa is real. I keep telling her that he's alive in our culture, an answer she finds rather unsatisfying, but which is also true.

When she saw an illustration of Edward Rowe Snow dressed up in a Santa suit she pointed and said, "There, see!? Santa is real." And I thought to myself, "She's not wrong."

In this story Mr. Snow was very much the embodiment of Santa.

Now that Thanksgiving is over with (we ended up going to a friend's house for dinner; they posted they were eating alone and we were eating alone and we just figured if we ate alone together we'd be that much less alone, so even though it was a last-minute coordination it ended up being a lot of fun) we're officially ready to get this Christmas holiday season underway.

I've been sneaking in Christmas stories for quite some time now (of course), but Andrew is still pretty strictly a no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving kind of guy. He's softened up a little over the past decade (and a half?!) that we've been married. In fact we might now be to the point that he's stopped caring about it altogether but the rest of us have gotten so used to him not liking Christmas creep that he pretends to be annoyed just to validate our Christmas pining.

For example, he was out of town all week last week (so we were listening to Christmas music with reckless abandon over here) and on Saturday when we were out for a sunset stroll, the kids hatched a plan to put Christmas lights up on the house before he came home (that very evening). Since it was already getting dark, putting up all our Christmas lights was out of the question but we did wrap some around one of our trees in the front:

And then we dug out our wreath and put it on the garage door (leading into the house, since we knew that's the door he'd be using when he came home) and the kids made him a "Welcome HO-HO-Home!" sign (because they've been raised to appreciate a good pun, thank goodness):

The kids were all in bed and asleep when he came home (right around midnight) but when I heard him pull into the garage I turned on "I'll Be Home for Christmas." He was adequately annoyed.

I accidentally dubbed our antics "pranksgiving," since, you know, he got home just in time for Thanksgiving break and the children took off with that idea like it was the new April Fool's Day!

On Sunday morning Rachel approached me, giggling.

"Mom, I just stapled my hand," she giggled, peeling off a band-aid to reveal a staple that she'd taped to her hand (which accidentally peeled off with the band-aid because the band-aid had stuck to the tape).

"Nice try," I said calmly. "But if you had really stapled your hand you wouldn't be laughing right now. Trust me."

I gave her my notes: no blood, no tears, no panic? I mean, honestly. The girl can't even get a shot at the doctor's office without flipping out. There's no way she stapled herself without any hysteria.

She took my critique to heart and a few minutes later she and Miriam rushed upstairs together, screaming all the way. This time they approached Andrew.

Miriam was pressing a tissue into her hand, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Rachel stapled my hand!" she cried shrilly, pulling the tissue back to give Andrew a glimpse of the carnage.

"WHAT?!" Andrew panicked. "What? How!? WHAT?! What do we even do...?"*

*Note: Andrew's...not great...with first aid emergencies. I do blood. He does vomit. And tooth-pulling, typically.

The girls didn't leave him panicking very long before dissolving into laughter.

"We got you!" they cheered.

"Wait, what?" Andrew said, relaxing a bit (but still rather confused).

"We tricked you!"

"So...nobody got stapled?"

"Nope! It's just a staple taped to my hand!"

"We used red marker for the blood!"

Honestly, the blood was pretty good. Having a bloody tissue was genius because then he only got a glimpse of the staple (so didn't notice the tape, which actually kept the ink shiny like fresh blood) and it looked like they were actually trying to staunch the flow of blood.

Choosing Miriam as the actress was also a good move. She is very good at crocodile tears (and screaming). Sometimes melodrama can come in handy.

So, yes, we got him good twice all within twelve hours of arrive home.

Hopefully now that Thanksgiving is behind us, Pranksgiving will be behind us, too, and we can all enjoy Christmas together (though, honestly, we're not really above Christmas pranks either, so...basically we're just never safe).

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