Friday, December 26, 2008

When Every Day was Christmas

For some reason I was thinking of my Santa doll this holiday season. My dad, who worked for Coca-Cola in the 50s and early 60s, brought home one of these little guys - sans Coke bottle - for me when I was a baby. I've been thinking I might like to have one again, though he wouldn't be the same as my Santa.

My Santa was one of the few dolls that had staying power. From the time I got him, he was my constant companion, as though every day were Christmas. The shiny belt eventually went missing. The boots were scuffed, and his fur trim was well worn to a dingy gray. He slept with me in my bed, as he was almost like a pillow. His stuffing was a cottony fluff, kind of like some of the old fashioned batting from quilts. His face and hands were solid, a molded plastic with a ready smile. When I cried, he soaked up my tears. When I laughed, it was as though he was laughing with me. Look at the twinkle in his eye!

When we left Houston and moved to Georgia in my 10th grade year, Santa went with us. I didn't care that I was "too old" for dolls. This was no doll; he was Santa. I didn't even believe in Santa anymore, but I kept him close. He was one doll that never got passed down to my baby sister. I think my parents knew that there would have been a fight. Plus, Dad would never have taken away the toy he had given me.

So Santa stayed, and over the years he was mended several times. Not unlike me now, he showed the lines of many "surgical" scars and the insertion of a rod (actually a coat-hanger) into his upper body. At that time, I had no idea that Santa had anything to teach me. But he was a stoic old elf! He bore all those scars without a peep. He kept smiling. And he was always waiting for that Coke bottle he'd been deprived of. He never gave up hope, you see.

Sometime in my 11th grade year, I moved away, back to Houston, to live with my older sister, leaving many of my things behind - Santa included. I don't know what happened to him. Maybe he fell into my sister's hands after all, getting ruined or lost. Maybe Mom threw him away. I hope not. Maybe my nephew got him. But at some point, Santa just wasn't there anymore.

Life got very complicated. My childish illusions fell away as did all of the lovely free time that children use for play. My playtime was over. I'm not sure if I would have felt better to have Santa with me or not, but sometimes I think he might have given me something to hang onto, something to hope for. Instead, I grew up. I did what I was supposed to do and was expected to do. Not every day was Christmas anymore. My family repeatedly told me, "Life is hard! Get used to it!"

And what has that attitude gotten any of us? Stress? Gray hair? Wrinkles? Maybe we should all have a little play in our lives still, a Santa doll that rests on our pillows and waits for us to return home and spill those secrets of our day. I know I'd love to do that again, to recapture just one moment when it was Christmas every day. I think I'm going to try...

Peace - D


SandyCarlson said...

Briing on the Santas of the world, 24/7/365. Santa knows there's only one way to live--like the lilies of the field. And with the good things on hand--like Coke. Or Dr. Pepper. Or candy bars.

This was a very uplifting post. I went a similar road in the early years; for that reason, I cherish my dolls--and the big elf of Christmas.

the walking man said...

In trying may you find yourself doing RP.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

love the sentiments and your memories, thanks for sharing..good luck in your quest

Dianne said...

I think of it as my inner child - the wondrous one - not the miserable one ;)

and I let her loose whenever I can

Mental P Mama said...

Amen. We could all use a little Santa every day.

Akelamalu said...

We all need that special Santa every now and again. I hope you find it (metaphorically speaking)x

Cloudia said...

Fly, girl! Do it! Dare it! You're already off da ground, my DEAR!
A wonderful post!!!!!!!!!

Hilary said...

I suspect your Santa continues to live within you. You're one of the more inspiring people I know. I hope you can find your Santa.

hopelessbeliever said...

I'm not sure I have ever read a more inspirational post my friend, thank you soooo very much for sharing such an intimate memory of your childhood and of your dreams. I think we all probably have some of that Santa in us, we have just forgotton how to use it and let out! I would like to join u in the quest for "Santa" of our childhood,it will be so nice to lighten up a little and truly enjoy life again.
Thank you so much for the inspiration! take care,
Julian :) *hugs*

RiverPoet said...

Sandy - I'm with you. I want to live like the lilies of the field...

Mark - How right you are, my friend. I want to be Santa.

FFF - I'm glad you liked the little story. May Santa grace you this year, my friend.

Dianne - Long live the inner child!!! Whichever one you like!

MPM - Long live Santa!

Akela - Oh, but how I wish I had my Santa again. When I close my eyes, though, he's always there.

Cloudia - I'm so glad you liked the post.

Hilary - I'm blushing! I'm so touched...

Julian - I'm so happy that this post touched you. I have truly been thinking of my Santa lately. I'm glad I was able to share this....

Peace - D

Jay said...

Do it! We all need to hang onto - or recapture - the child inside ourselves, or we become old before our time.

For me, that's a large part of the Depp Effect. ;)

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi RiverPoet!
He must have been a very special doll! I too had a chldhood companion: a black and white velvet panda that said "Mamma" whenever he was turned over. I washed him once and he lost his "voice" but I still loved him so much. He's still in the UK and living in my Dad's damp garden shed inside a black plastic bag :( He's been neglected over the years and next year when my Dad comes to visit me I am going to ask him to bring him with him in his suitcase... it will be nice to have him here in Brazil with me, a little piece of my Mum here with me... (Mum bought him for me when I was 1 year old)
Although I can imagine he is going to have to go into the washing machine on a hot wash a few times first!

Hope you had a nice Christmas! X

RiverPoet said...

Jay - I totally get that about you. It's good to have that inner Depp thing going on.

Donnie - I'm glad to know that your childhood cuddly still exists, even if he needs a bath. There is something priceless about that little time capsule of our childhood, isn't there?

Peace - D