I know that it is far too early to be thinking of the CLAUS family, even though I'm sure things are in full swing up in the North Pole - after all Christmas is almost only 3 months away - but I have good reason to be in this mind state, because.....
I had tea with Mrs. Claus last evening!
I know, I know - you're thinking I've really gone over the edge this time - but I tell you, it's true!
Every year Canada Post encourages children from all over the world to write a letter to Santa Claus at the North Pole. It is an event that is hyped by stores, friends, parents... well a lot of people. People who don't even believe in Santa encourage their children to do this because ... Santa writes back!
I have proof! When my son was about 7, he wrote a letter to Santa - I remember it being a very big deal. How Santa even read it is beyond me - but low and behold weeks later a reply came in the mail right from the North Pole! It wasn't a typed form letter either - it was hand written and personal - and I was surprised at how well Santa seemed to understand my child.
There was something about that letter - I read it several times, and then it came to me - the handwriting - I had seen it before! The more I thought about it, the more it bugged me - until I realized that the handwriting belonged to my long-time girlfriend, Denise.
Denise worked at Canada Post and that particular year she accepted the job to answer the letters to Santa Claus. She and her assistants read each and every letter sent that year - and responded to every one of them - even to the ones without return addresses!
We talked about that last evening over a pot of tea and a yummy dessert at the restaurant in the local book store. She told me about some of the funny letters that Santa received that year and about some of the sad letters to Santa. Letters from underprivileged children, dying children, spoiled rotten children and sadly the just plain stupid letters that some adults sent.
I don't think many parents give this tradition a whole lot of thought when they pop their child's letter to Santa in the mail each year... I know I didn't... I was just sort of happy that it didn't cost me for a stamp! I certainly gave it no more consideration once the letter was gone.
It is just one of those things that we take for granted as adults, one of those things that we have come to expect, but not consider for more than a minute.
How sad for us...
So 15 years later I am saying Thank you to Mrs. Claus for taking the time to answer my son's letter to Santa. Thank you on behalf of the little "Smith" boy who's return address was missing on his letter - but you tracked it down anyway after hours and hours of research. Thank you from the child who only wanted one toy, and thank you from the child that wanted every toy in the store!
You touched lives in a way that none of us ever could...
And from here on in - you're Mrs. Claus to me!