Santa Through The Years

29 Nov

Santa looks more scared than she does.

had the rare treat yesterday of giving a lecture to 150 first year dental students. I worked on the powerpoint presentation for a solid week, filling it with pictures of Optimus Prime and my adorable children to spice up the otherwise dry-as-matzo material (for those of you who aren’t into public speaking, the rules say if you have a captive audience you must force adorable pictures of your children on them as often as you can).

Now everyone’s happy.

I like to start most of my lectures by bragging about that which I’m most proud of – my family. So the first slide was of Episode IV’s very first picture with Santa Claus. The picture was taken at a shopping center near where we lived at the time. We have since moved 40 miles away, but we make a point of returning to that same shopping center for Santa pictures every year. When you look at all the Santa pictures over the years you get the nice effect of watching my family grow, year by year, set against the same background.

Best. Santa. Ever.

Years in front of a classroom have made me a veteran of public speaking. My train doesn’t get derailed easily. But yesterday something strange struck me. As the powerpoint animation scrolled through sequential Santa photos, year after year, and came to rest on this year’s picture (from just this past weekend) I was suddenly taken by how *big* my son, Episode V looks. Standing there in front of 150 dental students it was enough to steal my focus entirely away for just one moment. Certainly all the kids are bigger than they were last year (in fact Episode VI wasn’t even born for last year’s photo), but between last year and this, in the span of 12 months, Episode V seemed to go from “little boy” to “big boy” just like that. I composed myself and moved on with the lecture, but the thought stuck with me.

Best. Santa. Ever. Again.

Then this morning, as my first patient was numbing up and I was preparing for the first procedure of the day, a picture of Episode V came up on the screensaver. He couldn’t have been more than 2 in the picture. He was sitting on a merry-go-round horse, eyes wide, cherubic cheeks, face round and full of babyness. Again I was pulled completely out of the moment, fixated this time not on an image of what my son is growing into, but what he used to be and how different it is from who he is today.

Best. Santa. Ever. Again. Again.

Maybe it’s my daughter recently learning to ride her bike. Maybe it’s my dear friend’s son coming home from college for the first time. Maybe it’s my son trying like mad to learn how to read and write. Maybe it’s my baby threatening at any moment to start crawling. Whatever it is, I have been acutely aware lately of how my children are growing out from under me. The cliché is so true – it happens too fast.

Ep. VI was on his way.

Being a DorkDaddy isn’t always about light sabers and superhero t-shirts. Sometimes it’s about driving 40 miles to take your Santa pictures in the same spot every year. Sometimes it’s about misting up in front of your patient and staff, and not being ashamed to love your family fiercely, deeply and openly. There is no shame in a tear shed for the memory of that sweet, sweet child that will never be again. Keep the love flowing, and look forward to many, many more Santa pictures to come.

Happy holidays. From Ep. IV-VI

-Dork Dad

I love you, son.

8 Responses to “Santa Through The Years”

  1. kjysten November 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Who’da thunk such a geeky little kid would grow up and propagate such gorgeous scions. Must have been your wife’s genes? Love, ya. :>:

    • dorkdad November 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

      Too bad he can’t write for sh*t. Must be his English teacher’s contribution.

  2. Maggie O'C December 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Crying at work! This is so dear. I have to go look at Santa pics of my kids, who are now teenagers. Sigh.

    • dorkdad December 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      The way she walks around the house it doesn’t tak too much to picture my 6yo daughter as a teenager. We’re in deep, deep trouble.

      • Maggie O'C December 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

        I’d like to give you words of encouragement but that would be silly. It’s going to suck. But they can also be amazing and I love watching the adults they are growing to be.

      • dorkdad December 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

        I was a middle school teacher in a former life. Oddly that doesn’t make me feel more prepared. All that means is I know what’s coming. If anything it makes me fear those years more.

      • Maggie O'C December 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        A dentist and a middle school teacher….huh. Are you a masochist? 🙂

      • dorkdad December 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        You’d be surprised how similar the skillsets are.

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