A couple of days back, I ended up quarreling with a close friend of mine and felt miserable about it. With dark and overcast skies last week, the weather outside seemed to reflect my mood. Bored of sitting at home, me and my 4 year old daughter decided to visit the Tampa zoo to see their Christmas lights. It was Friday evening. It had been raining off and on throughout the day but as we got to the zoo the rain thankfully stopped. We made our way inside and were greeted by the sight of a huge, 30 ft Christmas tree pulsating with colorful lights. My daughter jumped up with joy and ran around the tree a couple of times. She found another girl of her age, they quickly became friends and ran some more laps around the tree laughing and giggling all the way. ‘Jingle bells’ played in the background providing a perfect backdrop to their joyous fun. Soon, it was time for the new friend to go and we bade her goodbye. My daughter decided that she wanted to pet the sting rays, so we set off in that direction. Along the way lay Santa’s Village. We were not planning on visiting Santa. My wife was away and we wanted to come back with her to go meet Santa. But, as we passed the village, we said, ‘what the heck, let us take a look inside.’ We sauntered inside, saw a cookie shop and grabbed some holiday cookies. We finally got to Santa’s workshop. Usually the place is full with dozens of exuberant kids waiting impatiently for Santa but that evening, there was nary a soul in sight. It seemed that Santa was waiting just for us. We had him all to ourselves. The brightly colored elves greeted us on the porch and quickly ushered us in the presence of Santa.
There we were, in front of Santa all robed in red and snow white. Santa gave out a joyous ho, ho, looked at my daughter with smiling eyes from behind his silver rimmed glasses and asked her, ’So, have you been naughty or nice?’. My daughter spread out her hands in her inimitable style and promptly answered,
‘My father, he fights with his friends and makes them unhappy. I play with my friends and keep them happy’.
Santa gave out a loud laugh, shook his head and said, ‘I see that you have been very nice but someone has not been nice.’ We chatted with Santa for a while, asked for our presents and someone promised Santa of nicer behavior next year. As we left Santa’s abode, the heavens opened up as if to wash everything away. The father daughter duo jumped, hop-scotched, slid and ran to our car and quickly made our way home.
The moral of the story being – be like my daughter and not like me, otherwise you won’t be getting a lot of presents from Santa. Did you make it up with everyone you made unhappy? There is still some time left.
Merry Christmas everyone. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then best wishes for Hanukkah, Kawanza or any other way in which you let god into your life. All of us can do with more of god’s warm and friendly gaze.
Check out some pics of my daughter’s time with Santa.
Best wishes and holiday greetings,