One fulfilling moment of my childhood fantasies at last.
Coming from my island world into the western culture raised a new awareness within me. Right after we settled in Waterbury, Connecticut, my husband introduced me to Bunker Hill Congregational Church. I felt so welcomed there that we decided to attend regularly. The Mr. and Mrs. Fun Club invited us to their Saturday get-togethers and the warmth, friendliness, and camaraderie persuaded my husband and me to join the club and the choir.
Christmas was approaching and I looked forward to attending my first stateside Christmas party, planned by Mr. and Mrs. Fun Club. It was a potluck party and there was food galore, more than I could imagine. It was a spread of home-baked lasagna, apple pies, cookies and various pastries for dessert. It was the first time I had a hot apple cider drink.
But the highlight was to sit on Mr. or Mrs. Santa's lap to make our Christmas wishes known. One of the couples volunteered to be Mr. and Mrs. Santa every year. The idea brought me back to my childhood dream that remained elusive in my adolescent and adult years, one that kept flashing back in my subconscious state from time to time, especially during Christmas time.
Mr. and Mrs. Santa sat in front of everyone. We lined up waiting for our turn. The wives sat on Mr. Santa's lap while the husbands sat on Mrs. Santa's lap. I never felt sillier when my turn came because my idea of sitting on Santa's lap was for children only.
“What do you want for Christmas?”
“I want a baby girl.”
“From the way you appear, it looks like it’s too late for that now. Maybe next Christmas Santa will deliver her to you.”
I did not know what to say. I just giggled. Nobody understood why I giggled uncontrollably. Mrs. Santa could not contain herself. She said in a loud whisper to Mr. Santa,
"What are you doing to her that makes her ticklish like that?"
“I’m not telling. It’s between her and me,” he responded impishly.
“Watch out, Mrs. Santa. You might be out looking in,” the lady behind me piped in.
“One little cookie can change your lifestyle,” another one chimed in. A few more quips followed making everyone burst into laughter.
Actually, I felt like a 5-year old child all over again. I never had the chance to sit on Santa's lap because I was timid and did not stand the chance to get to the front of the line. The closest I made it near Santa was at church when Pastor Yanez was clothed in Santa's garb, carrying a bag-load of cookies and candies. He handed each child a brown bag. That was fun for me but I often wished that I could also sit on Santa's lap like the other kids. For some reason, I felt like I was an overlooked and neglected child. I never had the attention that others got. I always felt like curling down in the corner and silently crying in disappointment. Even my crying was silent because I was not allowed to cry. My mother told me to behave like a good girl every time we have company or we’re in public; otherwise, I would get less than expected. This sometimes meant I get nothing at all.
Was it any wonder that I giggled like a fool, acting childlike because it was one of the fulfilling moments of my childhood fantasies!