The WordPress photo challenge this week is: Celebration.
I took this photo of Santa in a beautiful mall in West Palm Beach, Florida. This Santa stand in did a nice job. He “owned” the role.
The reactions of the kids to this Santa was amazing. Many of the kids just KNEW this Santa was the real deal. In this shot, Santa was having a very deep conversation with a little boy who refused to get very close to Santa, which is why Santa is leaning in. The kid, who seemed to be about five years old, was absolutely frozen in place, completely rapt up in the magic.
It is nice to see magic happen between a Santa and a kid.
I remember believing.
So, this is to celebrate the wonder of kids who still believe.
It was not a very good day for the Miami Dolphins football team; they lost. I’m not a football fan, but my brother and sister-in-law are Dolphins season ticket holders. They went to today’s game and my mom and I got to babysit for my niece! She’s 6.
We had such fun, as usual. She held class (loves being the teacher). First she tested my reading skills. I did pretty good, she said.
Then I fell in line behind her (my dog behind me), and I followed her upstairs. “NO TALKING IN LINE”, she screamed. I obeyed from then on.
I then attended Jewelry Club and Dance class. I did very well in jewelry making, she said, and gave me an A+ (probably because I made her a necklace of plastic, colorful beads). In dance, however, I only got a B.
For the dance class, she had me sit and wait in the “classroom” (one of the bedrooms), while she went out and prepared herself to teach the class. In a few minutes, she came in with hot-pink gloves to her elbows, glasses, high-heels, and a pink dance bag. Before she came in, she stood at the open doorway and pretended to talk to other students. She said her goodbyes to them and reminded them to practice their steps!
Then she came in, closed the door, and marched to “her desk” (the bed), looking very important and official. She ceremoniously pulled on each finger of the hot-pink gloves until they were both neatly set aside; and took out her notebook which held her choreography and dance notes. The dance notes consisted of lines and arrows drawn with blue and red crayon.
Before we danced we had to practice a little bit and so we did our ballet positions: First position – feet apart. Second position – feet together at the heels. Third position – one foot points left, the other foot points right with about a foot of space in between. Fourth position – you bring the heel of one foot to rest on the middle arch of the other foot. Fifth position – both feet are held tightly together, but toes on one foot face North, and the toes of the other foot face South. Oh, and then we did our plea-a’s, and our spins and leaps and turns, and on and on until I couldn’t go any more!
So, now I’m home, and exhausted and ready for dreamland. But, before I go, I want to share the “Family Rules” she created and which my sister-in-law framed.
I love every rule but my favorite is number 6.
She lost another one. Another baby. This was the third one she’s lost in three years, she told me.
She has two other children. A 9 year old, and a 3 year old.
Her two children were looking forward to having a brother. After the pregnancy got far enough along, at about the fourth month, she told the children about the baby. They were over the moon about it! So was she.
The three of them, mom, and two children, talked about the baby every day.
The kids began to plan, as kids do, for the eventual arrival of a new brother.
The kids wanted to name their brother; wanted to pick out his clothes; they drew pictures for his room, and talked incessantly about the baby, she told me. When the baby came, the kids wanted to take turns doing baby chores like giving the baby a bottle, or holding or bathing him.
What about diapers, she asked them? No, that was not on their radar. Kids their age don’t think diapers – baby’s don’t make messes in their world.
There was a mess, though. The mess occurred when the baby was nearly six months in her womb.
She is single, poor, young, no health insurance. Without health insurance, the doctor visits during pregnancy were inconsistent. Well, she’s stretched thin, what with two kids to feed.
And, when you’re busy trying to survive moment-to-moment, when your amniotic fluid is slowly leaking from your womb to the extent the baby becomes endangered, you may not pay attention because you have two mouths in front of you to feed.
So, you ignore it until you can’t anymore and you push out a dead baby.
But you still have to work and take care of the kids the day you pushed out the baby.
The hospital tells you the baby needs a funeral, or should be cremated.
You opt for cremation. But, before the baby is taken away, you take pictures.
You show the pictures to people. You show people the pictures of the dead baby you just pushed out of your body?
You showed them to me.
I was looking at pictures of two beautiful children – live children. And then there were pictures of a dead baby. A lot of pictures.
She didn’t see the look on my face because I held myself in perfect check. I didn’t want to be rude, but I had to turn away.
I was able to maintain composure but I am haunted by it. The baby was still very pink.
I was overwhelmed at seeing those pictures and suddenly felt as if I was under water.
I can’t get the images out of my mind. It haunts me.
What made her think that I would want to see that?
She is of a different generation, a different culture. Is that it? I know in my heart that she showed them to me because she trusts and likes me; I am kind to her. I go out of my way to be kind to her. Not everyone is. Kind, I mean.
A week prior to the day she showed me the pictures, she told me she had picked up the Urn with her baby’s ashes. The children, she said, refused to believe her baby was in there. The children saw the pictures of the dead baby, she said because she wanted them to understand.
She told me they are too young to understand. Yes, I said, I imagine that would be true. What could I say?
She’s a strong girl, though. She is fine. I guess if she’s able to look at her baby’s picture on her cell phone, it means she must be doing fine?
I don’t know. I know she has to survive.
She has other business to attend to.