Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Beautiful Holiday Moment

Something happened the other day that I wanted to share because it touched my heart. I am lucky, I know, because Thomas is very sweet and often very naïve about things so sometimes it's like I have a young child living with me. When he sits down to watch TV, it's usually cartoons and certain conversations between he and I will have the feel of a mom talking to her young son. It is that young boy that I write a little about today.

I took Thomas with me to pick up prescriptions and we had a wonderful time in the store waiting for the prescriptions to be filled. All Thomas wanted to do was go to the Christmas section and look at everything. He has this child-like attachment to Christmas, one that I am often envious of because I let too much of life get in the way of enjoying the season. We wandered the ornaments section and I let him pick out any ornament he wanted for our tree (that hadn't even been put up yet--I'm late doing that because I'm having a hard time celebrating Christmas without my dad this year). His choice was a glass replica of a video game controller.

Now, bear in mind, through the years I have abandoned putting what I call "legacy ornaments" on the tree because I want the tree to be clean with just metallic (silver, gold, bronze, copper) ornaments on it. After years of trees filled with a hodge podge of ornaments I wanted something more classic. That went by the wayside last year when Thomas found in a box his electronic Star Wars ornament that makes some sort of horrible screeching noise when turned on. So this year, knowing full well that Star Wars ornament was going to be on the tree and because Thomas has been struggling and because he LOVES Christmas SO MUCH, I let him go ahead and buy the video game controller ornament. Somehow my "classic" tree is turning back into a hodge podge and somehow, now, because of my sweet boy, I don't mind.

We went up and paid for the ornaments we each had picked out and after paying I kept a couple of dollars out of my wallet. As we had come in the store earlier, the Salvation Army had one of their bell-ringer volunteers outside the store waiting for donations. I always like to try to leave something for them. As Thomas and I headed towards the exit, I handed him the money and I told him to put it in the bucket. He was SO HAPPY! Ah, I love that kid of mine.

We walked out and Thomas stopped at the bucket and separated each bill out to be dropped in the bucket one at a time. One might think, because my own mind can go there, that Thomas was making a big production of making sure the bell-ringer knew just how much he donated but instead Thomas just wanted to relish the moment of giving something to charity. It truly gives him joy to do that.

Then it happened.

As we walked across the parking lot Thomas said something about being happy that he had done that and then he said--with a faraway look in his eyes,

"I hope Santa saw me do that."

My heart, oh my heart, loved that boy so much in that moment. Here he is 20 years old and I could see by the look in his eyes and hear in the tone of his voice that at least some small part of him still believes in Santa and feels that he's watching him do good deeds. It was just a fleeting moment and I'll admit I had to respond (I know I'll have critics about this),

"Yes, Thomas, I do think he saw you do that and I know he cares about what a wonderful soul you are."

Perhaps in that moment a delusion was in play. Perhaps him believing for that moment that Santa was watching him was compliments of this wretched illness but in the scheme of things, when all of his monsters are government agents of one sort or another, I felt Santa was a harmless belief for him to hold and it was one I just couldn't crush with harsh reality. You couldn't have paid me to handle it any other way.

So, there it was, a priceless, beautiful moment during this holiday season. Thomas gave the money because he wants to contribute to charity but, to him, in the few moments afterwards when he let his mind wander, he was a young man who was now on Santa's "nice list".

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