Posted by: mesabimisadventures | December 16, 2009

“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”

She’s eight years old.  Eight years old and her parents have been divorced since the summer.  Eight years old and she doesn’t know what house to call home.  Eight years old and she’s lost.

She began the school year living with her maternal grandmother, attending a new school, living in town and not on a farm anymore.  Her brother lives with their paternal grandparents, attending a different school than her, five miles away geographically but forever away in her daily life.  Every other Friday, she dutifully packs her backpack and goes with her father for the weekend, returning again Sunday night to get ready for another week at her new school with her new surroundings and new friends.

By December, she reaches the end of her ability to stay cheerful.  She tearfully tells her father that she simply misses her big brother, her hero, too much to stay living in town, so she’s moved once again to another new home-but-not-quite-home.  Her paternal grandparents welcome her in.  Welcome in this young girl with a vivid imagination, more energy than grandparents in their 60s can possibly control and an overwhelming desire in her heart for any sense of normal again. 

And back to her old school with her old friends she goes.

The day of the school’s Christmas Program and classroom parties arrives.  She sings along to carols that she’s always known and mouths words to songs that she hasn’t had time to learn yet.  She’s back with her old friends, but nothing is for her what it was the year before.  She looks out into the audience and knows that there are no parents there for her.  In her class of 60, she is one of two with divorced parents and as her friends and classmates wave and smile at their parents, she stands there alone and looks at everyone and no one.

The Program ends and they return to the classroom.  She looks at all of the presents stacked and her stomach sinks when she realizes that she hadn’t been going to the school yet when names were drawn for the gift exchange.  Her throat closes up and she wants to cry because all she wants is to fit in and be normal and not have anyone notice that she alone has no presents under the classroom tree.    She just wants normal…

When the teacher goes to the tree and pulls out a present and says her name, she’s still staring down at her shoes.  Staring down at her shoes hoping desperately for the day to be over so she can be anywhere but there where all of her classmates have married parents and normal lives and don’t live with their grandparents and don’t live out of their backpacks on the weekends.  Anywhere but there where all of the kids have presents and wait, was that her name she heard?  She cautiously goes up to the teacher, terrified that she heard it wrong and fearing worse embarassment if the teacher says “I didn’t say your name, you must have heard me wrong.”  But the teacher doesn’t say that, instead she smiles down at the little girl and hands her a present that clearly has her name written on it, with “Mrs. Carlson” on the From line.  The girl looks up with a confused look and the teacher smiles gently and whispers to her, “I realized this morning that you weren’t coming to school here when we drew names, so I went at lunch to buy you this gift.  I hope you like it.”

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but he doesn’t always go by that name.  At least once he’s gone by “Mrs. Carlson.”



  1. *Sniff* Thank you for sharing, *sniff* Julie. *Sniff* What a great teacher to think of you. I hope to be that person to someone some day. *Sniff* Merry Christmas, my friend:)

  2. God, that was so sad, but yet happy, too! I loved it!!!! It really put me in the Christmas “giving” spirit! Thank you!

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