It's about this time of year that I start preparing Carsyn to see Santa Claus. Yes, I prep my child for strangers dressed up as a character that I want to make her take a photo with...nothing wrong with that, ha! She is four and a half years old and has never taken a photo with Santa. We normally wave from really, really far back and then she tells me how "when I'm big like you Mommy, I'll get my picture with him then".

Now the memory-capturing mother that I am cringes a little inside every year. I just want her to have fun photos with Santa to look back at over the years and it just hasn't happened. Until this past weekend...

This past Saturday was Breakfast with Santa at Carsyn's preschool and I was prepared for the worst. I just knew we'd wait in a line for at least 30 minutes only to walk away and wave, like we did all 7 times we tried to see Santa last year. As we turned the corner to go talk to Santa, Carsyn was still telling us that she was really going to do it this year.  And... she did!I'll be honest... I almost cried. Seriously, I'm such a whiney, emotions-out-of-control girl. But, here's why... It wasn't because after four and a half years I'd finally have a picture to put up on the mantle, but it was because she was scared. Like, seriously scared to talk to him and she did it anyway. At such an early age, as parents, we don't get to see our children overcome their fears that often. So, as I watched her hesitantly climb onto that sweet Santa's lap, I realized how big of a deal this is for her. She was so quiet and almost shy as she told him what she wants for Christmas. I could see how excited and proud she was as she looked over at us with those big brown eyes filled with happiness. Awe... that little side-smile made waiting these years so worth it. I realized that she is going to do things when she wants to and I'd better just start praying for extra patience and understanding.

Looking back, I'm glad that I never forced her to take a photo with Santa. (Even thou I crack up at the pics of the kids throwing a fit with tears rolling and snot slinging, ha!) She did things her way and overcame a big fear. I'm a proud Mommy. And, of course, this picture will be framed on the mantle before the week is over.

Oh... do wish me luck thou. She asked Santa for a real pony for Christmas.

Jaclyn Graves