I woke up feeling really good today. Like, unreasonably good for December 22nd. The shopping is done, my work as “class mom” for preschool is over until the New Year, the kids have just started their holiday break… THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER! We have the most valuable commodity to me right now, time! We are so busy in our normal day-to-day we never have any time to do anything that isn’t scheduled. And now we have no schedule for 19 days?! Bring on the fun. Bring on the lunacy. Bring on the crazy festivities.

“Let’s go have our picture taken with Santa!”

Is wasn’t until I had all three of my children, dressed in red polo shirts and khakis (holy shit, they look like Jake from State Farm), in the car before I thought, “Shit, this might be a very stupid idea.” Hindsight people, hindsight.

It was a very stupid idea.

We ventured off to the Bass Pro Shops who advertise a “Santa’s Wonderland”. The hubby and I took the kids to this last year. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my youngest son, and we had a really nice time. There was barely anyone there. We walked right up to Jolly Old Saint Nick and got a picture (for free). The kids played with the carnival-like set up that had a “Paul Bunyan” theme. We aren’t really the outdoorsy-types (read: we don’t like to kill our own food) so most of those things were lost on the children. But it was effortless last year. So I ventured the trek to Bass, 30 minutes away from home.

As we parked the car I discovered things were very¬†different this year. The place was PACKED. We approached Santa’s Wonderland with more fear than wonder and ventured to the line to meet Mr. Kringle. This is Heavy B’s first Christmas… we needed to get this picture. That is when a store employee handed me a card that said, “Come back at 12:30”. It was only 10 a.m. Apparently, the rest of Florida had caught wind of free Santa pictures and he was in high demand. WTF are we going to do for 2 1/2 hours at the Bass Pro Shops? We attempted to go play some of their “holiday wilderness games” but my kids, apparently, aren’t the biggest assholes running around town. Watching my 4-year-old patiently wait on a line for 20 minutes just to have his turn absconded from him by a 40-year-old with a neck tattoo is not my idea of festive family fun.

Sidenote: I have NO PROBLEM with anyone with tattoos. This bitch just happened to be an asshole, and have one, on her neck. Glad we cleared that up.

So, in the spirit of the holidays and the fact that I thought it might be a mistake to go Red Ross on some chick in front of all 3 of my kids, my practicality kicked in, “Well, I guess the Santa picture just isn’t meant to be. Let’s go home.” Unfortunately, I had already placed the thought in their little kid heads and the 4-year-old looked at me with the big puppy-dog eyes, “Please Mommy, we have to see Santa. My brother needs his first Santa picture, and I want to smell him.”

He wanted to SMELL Santa?! How adorable… and disgusting. Fingers crossed he didn’t smell of beef and cheese.

“Okay! Santa it is. We’ll go to the closest mall.”

Just like that, I piled my children back into the family truckster and ventured to the local (but 40 minutes away from our town) mall.

While driving, the little voice in my head (the one I barely listen to anymore) said, “But you don’t go to the mall. And you’d never go to the mall 3 days before Christmas.” I should listen to that voice more often.

The mall was the exact scene you would except from a suburban mall 3 days before Christmas. It was a hot-fucking-mess. Crowded, everyone trying to go, go, go. A nightmare. My kids looked really small there, among all those strangers. The older boys held hands, navigating behind me while I pushed the stroller. We asked a mall employee where we could find the big man and navigated to his Christmas village. I think the 4-year-old started to run. He was very excited.

That’s when we saw the sign: Santa will return to the North Pole at 12:45.

Are you fucking kidding me? It was 11:30.

We discussed leaving. We discussed putting a flame-thrower to this awful plan and going home. We tried. We failed. No picture with Santa. That’s when the 9-year-old chimed in, “Well, now we just have to do it. We’ve gone too far to go back.” I knew exactly what he meant.

We went to the food court in the mall. The kids ate sandwiches from Subway while talking about Santa. The baby slept. We walked the long trek back to the North Pole and arrived just as it opened, 12:45, to find 25 families ahead of us.

The boys had more patience than Mommy. Of course, the baby’s diaper was about to burst so I changed him while on-line in his stroller. I’d rather the whole mall see my baby’s junk then have him piss all over a mall Santa.

It was finally our turn. Santa asked the boys if they were good and what they wanted for Christmas. Then he told them where to sit and made some cute jokes. I never really saw the monkey attempt to smell him, but he didn’t report any bad smells afterwards either, so that’s good. Right?

We left the house at 9:30 and arrived home at 3 p.m.

Next year, I’ll let my Mother-in-law take the kids to have their picture with Santa.

I need a drink.

P.S. The picture is fucking adorable.

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