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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Our Little Elf Meets Santa

Friday, December 24, 2010

(Photo)
In the last week or so, my wife and I came to the realization that we were bad parents. We had not yet taken our son to see Santa Claus.

In our defense, Miles is five months old, so he isn't exactly clamoring to see the fat man in red velvet. Additionally, it's not like he'll ever remember seeing Santa this year.

That isn't really the point, though, is it? It's his first Christmas, and if we don't take him to see Santa there's just something wrong with us.

I finally figured out that Santa was going to be visiting our Rotary meeting on Wednesday. I'm the club photographer, so getting picture of the happenings would not be a problem.

The almost-perfect plan was only marred by the fact that Nicole would not be able to be there. Instead, I would keep it a secret from her, have my mother-in-law bring the boy to Rotary, and get a picture to Cole in her stocking.

With so many children, though, the worry is, how will they take Santa? Long beards aren't the norm these days, so a seemingly disembodied voice emerging from somewhere beneath a pair of eyes can be off-putting to them.

My child is pretty agreeable, though. He responds to men's voices and things like long hair, beards, glasses or jewelry only seem to make the subject more interesting. It's just something for him to grab.

So the big day arrived. We had our usual Rotary lunch, followed by the Christmas program. Through the tie contest and the distribution of gifts and prizes, he did OK, but you could tell he was getting tired.

When the second graders from Deer Meadow (who were awesome) showed up, my boy was really getting tired. Grandma took to walking back and forth with him and even taking him out in the hall where it was a bit cooler.

While they were in the hall, Miles got his first look at Santa, who was also waiting out there to make his appearance. He was taken from the word go. His eyes got big and as soon as he saw the beard, he grabbed. In a few years, he might be doing that as a skeptic. This year, it just means he likes to grab things.

So he and Santa were already acquainted before the official "sit on his lap" time came. After Santa presided over some more festivities, he had a chance to get some pictures of the two of them in front of the Christmas tree.

The challenge with a 5-month-old -- especially in a busy, crowded room -- is to get him to look at the camera for you. You can dress him in an awesome elf outfit, keep him awake and find the perfect place for the picture, but you can't get him to look a direction he doesn't want to look.

However, over the course of several tries, I think we got a couple of good ones.

But as a journalist, I always love the candid stuff so much more, and that's why I've included the picture above. For all our trying to get a "perfect," looking straight at the camera shot, it's the real moments like this that are the best. It's just a little boy completely taken with a new friend.

The best part of the day? Nicole didn't have to work the afternoon, so she got to the party a little late, but in plenty of time to see her little man with his first Santa experience.

Sure, it ruins my surprise gift, but the best gift of all is the three of us got to be there, experiencing it all together. I love these family moments, and I can't wait to see what the next couple of days are like.

Merry Christmas, everybody. My greatest gift arrived on July 23.

Jared Jernagan is the assistant editor of the Banner Graphic. He can be reached at jjernagan@bannergraphic.com