Annie has been talking about going to see Santa Claus since November 1st. Every day it was, “Mama, can we go see Santa? Is he there yet?” She was so excited, but I’ve fallen for that before. Every year she’s excited. And every year (except her first year) she’s flipped out. As I got the kids dressed for this year’s picture, I had zero expectations. Well, that’s not true: I expected to end up with a picture of screaming kids.

When we arrived at the mall, we got into a long line where Annie kept jumping around, waving and trying to get Santa’s attention. Every other year she’s been fairly subdued in line, so I thought this was possibly a good sign. James, on the other hand, fell asleep on my shoulder. James thinks waiting in a line is beneath him.

Right before it was our turn, I asked Annie if she was ready to see Santa. I was trying to give her an out, because I didn’t want Santa to have to deal with an almost-four-year-old’s meltdown. She was ready, though. “Mommy, I am going to tell Santa I want an amulet so I can talk to animals.” On the outside I was like, “That sounds great!” But on the inside I was like, “Good luck, Santa.” I gently woke up James and then…it was the moment of truth.

The kids and I walked up to Santa, and Santa said, “Hello dear, what’s your name?” I held my breath…and Annie walked right up to him and said, “My name is Annabel, and this is my baby brother James!” She climbed right onto Santa’s lap. It was awesome! James, on the other hand, looked a little…confused. He’d only woken up about two minutes before, and now some bearded stranger was holding him. But, he didn’t start screaming or anything. Not that I thought he would, this IS James we’re talking about, but Santa brings out crazy reactions in kids.

The photographer started snapping away, but Annie was just talking Santa’s ear off. I finally had to say, “Annie, stop talking for a second so Santa’s elves can get a picture!” She stopped talking and made an “Ugggggh, Mooooom,” noise, and James started laughing. The photographer fired off a couple quick shots, and that was it. At the end of their visit, Santa gave Annie an activity book (coloring, word search, etc) and a hug. Annie was on cloud nine.

When it was my turn to pay, the girl helping me started scrolling through the pictures. We had confused James, eye rolling Annie, and then this:

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The girl helping me was like, “Ohhhhh, that is it, that’s the picture!” And while I didn’t disagree that it was awesome (BECAUSE HELLO!!!), I said, “Were there any other photos?” She replied, “There’s one more, but Santa has his eyes closed.” In my head I thought, “Who cares what Santa looks like?” But my mouth said, “Okay great! I will take 1,000 of these photos, thanks!”

When we got home, I started cutting up the pictures to distribute to various family members, and I saw that our package came with a digital download. I knew I’d want a copy of that, so I logged onto the website and discovered that ALL the photos that were taken with Santa were available for me to look at. Mike and I scrolled through them, giggling, and then we came to the one picture I hadn’t seen. You know, the one where Santa’s eyes were (allegedly!) closed:

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And I was like, “Holy. Crap.” Because that picture is a) amazing, and b) SANTA’S EYES ARE OPEN!!!


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Every eye is open! EVERY! SINGLE! EYE! I don’t know what that girl was thinking, but in the end she’s gonna have to answer to Santa…just like we all do.

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