Very early yesterday morning before the dawn was breaking I was laying awake listening to the breathing of my 4 year old grandson. He had been sleeping since 6 pm the night before after coming home from daycare/junior kindie totally soaked from winter play and exhausted from a day with his friends. He fell asleep in the car as I ran errands and when I finally got home I wondered if I could simply let him sleep through. Often we awaken a child and then are curious to know why they are cranky. It is in the awakening we make the mistake.
He was soundly sleeping still and it had been 11 solid hours. He needed his rest I had no doubt. Within a bit he began to stir and I stayed very quiet. He called out into the darkness "Gramma?" and I responded. He simply said, "I just wanted to be sure you are here."
"I am" I said. He then lay quietly in the dark and I could hear a gentle whispering and all I could make out was a little "Amen". Then he was quiet again. I didn't ask about it.
Later that morning after we had got up, ate some breakfast made of toast, homemade jelly, a bit of popcorn made the old-fashioned way, on the stovetop with butter and a stainless steel pan, coloured a picture and watched a little tv he wanted pancakes. I don't stock milk in my fridge so I suggested we go for a walk to the local Timmy's I would get a coffee and a carton of milk and we could return and make pancakes. We set out.
The distance to the Timmy's covered with adult legs would take 5 - 7 minutes if one sauntered but with little 4 year old legs it took us about 20 - 25 minutes as he played and sang to himself, asked many questions and doddled along. It was life giving for me, as always. He picked up and carried dirty snow packed from the throwback of the plow and talked to these balls of snow like they were old friends. When we arrived at Timmy's he set the most recent find outside the door to wait for us to come back out.
As we entered the first door I was alerted to a flash of red in my peripheral vision. It was a jolly old elf seated with a Timmy's cup in front of him joyfully ho-ho-hoing to those around him. I stopped and tapped my grandson on his shoulder and said, "Look!" His eyes got big and he stopped dead in his tracks, looked up at me and said, "SAAAANTA!" And we entered the coffee shop!
Immediately Santa locked eyes with my grandson and beckoned him over. My grandson slowly responded. Santa shook his hand and said "Good Morning!" and my grandson stood and stared. This was a real, authentic Santa even for me. One with true whiskers that were his own, unruly and grey. He had a twinkle in his eye that I had never seen before and my grandson asked to sit on his lap. He pensively said, "are you dry?" and I laughed. Santa had a big day ahead and didn't want to begin it with a wet lap. So we tested out the snowpants for remnants of the icy walk and determined he was dry enough to snuggle in between Santa's knees for a hug and stand leaning on his thigh.
"What do you want for Christmas?" Santa asks. "A transformer!" says my grandson. Santa holds his belly and with a jolly roll of laughter says loudly so everyone can hear, "...and I don't suppose you mean an electrical component!"
Just then we hear a tee hee and a giggle and up comes Mrs. C all dressed in Disney best. Minnie mouse ears and a beautiful diamond bow for a watch. She is dressed all in red with bells on her ankles. My grandson is totally enthralled in this moment in time.
As I gently pulled him from this scene like hot fudge that has landed on cold ice cream we back away from the table as Mrs. C reminds Santa they must go, others are waiting. He waves to my grandson and he and I head for the counter. Hunter still has his mouth slightly open trying to comprehend how he was so lucky to find Santa in the local Timmy's. I get my coffee the milk for the pancakes and we head out the other door.
In leaving by the other door I am nudged that the beloved snow ball is at the other door. Thinking this grand experience would leave that memory in the dust we begin to walk. All of a sudden Hunter stops and says, "Gramma, my snow ball!" and I suggest he leave it for another little boy to find and play with and he is content with that.
In my own lack of faith lately I am nudged as we walk to ask Hunter about his prayer. "I heard you praying this morning, who were you talking to?"
"God" he says.
"Oh I ask, and what were you praying for?"
"I was asking God to give me good dreams." he answers.
"Oh" and I add, skeptically, "You think God helps your dreams?"
He simply says, "Yup" and carries on walking with his three Timbits in a bag, kicking the snow and climbing the next giant snow pile.
Hmmm I think is it really that simple? Just knowing or believing in my four year old heart that this God Hunter is talking about can take on the role of giving me good dreams?
Where does the magic go? When we are children we are so easily faithful to what we are told and simply just believe. Then the world gets a hold on us and beats us up, tears down our faith, scraps our dreams, deals us life's hard lessons only to beat out of us the very faith that there is an essence to believing. Not in any one god, or the supernatural of a being, or in fairy tales or Santa Claus but in the essence that belief, in itself, and how there is good someplace that helps us with our dreams. Whether we call it god, synergy, energy, light, love or soul have this faith to believe in the very essence of the good of all existence is the hope of tomorrow.
In the pre-dawn prayer of a trusting little boy I rediscovered what it is to simply believe as I do every year at this time. I find it in the hokey romantic movies, re-visiting a dollar store tree, the extended hours of darkness and in the very faith in the magic of a child's faith. Find your inner child again, find that moment in time when your dreams were shattered, rewind just a tad and bask in the blind faith of your four year old heart.
Sweet dreams my friends ... sweet dreams!
Josh Groban BELIEVE from Polar Express