by Antoinette Lillie
I was only two weeks old when I first met him. He held me so gently in his arms, this man with the big belly, long white beard and red suit. Apparently he and my mother knew each other! Yes, I’m talking about Santa Claus.
Every year, my mother and I reunited with Santa. She and I would go to a shopping center called the Villa Plaza in order for me to take a picture with him – every few years my mother would even join us in the photo! We would stand in a seemingly never-ending line, with other families wanting a photo op with Santa. Bells rang and Christmas lights illuminated the mall. While we waited, Santa’s helpers would pass out hot chocolate. It was so exciting!
As I got older, I started noticing some strange things. Santa’s appearance would change each year. He’d get thinner, plumper, taller… and shorter? What was happening to him? Oh well, that wasn’t going to stop me from sitting on his lap and telling him what I wanted for Christmas! And Santa never let me down. Everything I’d told him I wanted was always waiting for me underneath the Christmas tree! I’d personally visited him after all AND he was friends with my mother.
I’m all grown up now, but the wonderful memories remain. And I am very grateful for the experience. Today, I’m creating memories with my own children. Hopefully, when they grow up, they will be able to look back, smile and say “Santa baby, here I come!”
Antoinette Lillie is the Front Office Coordinator in TERRA’s Tacoma office.