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There is Always a Santa

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Once upon a time, specifically Christmas 2007, our son Sam still believed in Santa. Sort of. He was starting to doubt. He was in fifth grade, and I felt he was way too old to still believe. I wanted to take Sam aside and tell him the truth, but my husband Bill wanted him to believe as long as possible. He was also worried that if Sam knew Santa wasn’t real, he would tell his younger brother Jack right away and ruin Christmas for him.

Then Sam asked Santa for the Wii. So did every other kid in America, and the Wii was impossible to find. (There were supply chain issues even then!) We told Sam that he could ask for the Wii, but that he might have to wait until January for it to arrive.

That’s when he told us, “I’ll know there is a Santa if I get the Wii.”

Bill became determined to get that Wii, not only because his son wanted it, not only because it was an awesome gift, but because it was a referendum on Santa.

We tracked down every lead. News reports would broadcast which stores were getting new shipments in the next day, and customers would start lining up. I stalked the malls, and Bill hunted among many different places in New York City. He even lined up in the cold at 4:00 a.m. one morning. Still no Wii.

It was getting close to Christmas. Sam kept talking about the Wii. We couldn’t find one, and we didn’t have another gift for him either. Things were starting to look bad.

In other news, my car was making a funny noise, so I took it in. While it was in the shop, I took the opportunity to stay unshowered in my sweats and clean. Around 11 a.m. my friend Jeanann called me.

“Best Buy in Paramus has the Wii.”


“Annemarie just called me. She’s at Best Buy right now.”

Annemarie was a friend in town; our kids knew each other and we saw each other often on the playground, the school, at church and soccer games. She knew I needed the Wii because I had told anyone who would listen that I was looking for the Wii, and Jeanann had told everyone she knew as well. (Jeanann is one of those organized moms who had bought the Wii in October and hidden it in the attic). So when Annemarie was at Best Buy five days before Christmas and she saw a Wii sitting there, she picked up the box and called Jeanann because she didn’t have my number. Then Jeanann called me.

“Do you think I can get them to hold it for me?” I asked.

“No way. Anne Marie asked them. She is standing in the store, holding it. Can you go get it?”

I told Jeanann I had no car. Could Annemarie buy it and I’ll pay her back this afternoon?

Nope. She had left her credit cards at home.

“She is standing in the store. I’ll pick you up!”

“But,” I said, “I haven’t even showered or dressed.” “Neither have I!” laughed Jeanann.

Ten minutes later Jeanann pulled into my driveway, wearing her coat over her pajamas.

We drove to Best Buy. I found Annemarie; she too, was wearing sweats and looked unshowered. I paid, got back into Jeanann’s car and we shouted with joy.

Christmas morning, Sam was over the moon. “See, Mom, there is a Santa!”

There certainly is, I thought. But sometimes he calls himself Jeanann or Anne Marie.

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