Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

My Annual Test December 10, 2012

Christmas secretThere are several annual tests I take every year to monitor my physical health—eye test, teeth examination, PAP, blood sugar—but now that December is upon us, I’m preparing myself for the annual test of my emotional health—a visit from Santa.

Every year, the city where I live sends a noisy police escort to accompany a large motorized sleigh and the jolly old man in red himself. Every December, around this time, we hear the commotion of sirens and horns and assume there’s a criminal on the loose in the neighborhood, then one of us remembers, “Oh right, it’s Santa,” and dash outside to give him a wave.

I used to dread these visits. Even though there are approximately two children living on my block, hundreds (it seemed to me) would flood out of the woodwork to get a photo with Santa. I would hover on my doorstep, wanting to appear as if I was in the Christmas spirit, but finding myself slammed by the stark reality of my childlessness. I had no one to take to visit Santa, no excited hand to hold, and no commemorative photo for the scrapbook. I’d clutch my cat and kid myself that she was excited to see Santa (she was terrified) and I wouldn’t say anything at all to Mr. Fab in case he heard the crack in my voice or spotted one of the tears I was dripping into my poor kitty’s fur. Even just recalling those times makes the color drain from my face.

One year, my neighbor (in her 50’s) skipped up my front steps and said, “I want to have my picture taken with Santa; will you take me?” I did. She hopped up into the sleigh and grinned next to Santa. I have a copy of the photo and the sheer, unadulterated joy in her face makes me smile every time. My friend helped me to find a different kind of joy in this otherwise trying event.

Every year since then Santa’s annual visit has become easier and I’ve started using it as a gauge to see how I’m doing. It’s my annual test of my emotional wellbeing and my healing progress.

It’s December 10th already, so I’m expecting to take the test any day now. The good news is that this year I think I’m going to pass with flying colors.

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3 Responses to “My Annual Test”

  1. Klara Says:

    Happy for you, Lisa!

  2. gaylene Says:

    That’s great, Lisa! I’m glad you’re expecting to pass your annual test and that things are getting easier for you with each passing year. I figure the reason I am such a child-at-heart is because I didn’t have kids to make me feel old. I am the one – like your neighbor – who would jump at the chance to have my picture taken with Santa (or licking the Ghirardelli Chocolate ice cream sundae man in Monterey, CA!)

    I went to a few parkour classes and questioned the adults sitting on the sides as to why they weren’t joining in with their kids. They looked younger than me. Poor, poor people who are parents! People don’t ask me why I don’t act my age, they wish they were as energetic as I am. This is the way I live my life, and a majority of the time I don’t get too down about not having children. Life is for living any spectacular way you can! Good luck and continued success!

  3. Robin Says:

    Our neighborhood Santa visit (he rides through our town on a fire truck) is this coming Sat.
    Your neighbor was right, it’s fun to be a kid at heart. I’m so happy for you Lisa! I’m going to remember this post on Sat as I stand, holding my dog and making him wave to Santa.


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