"So I've been thinking about what to ask Santa Claus for," says Panda as I'm washing her hair. "Let's hear it."
"Well, I want a Calico Critters house," is her opening bid ($99). "And a bedroom set for Julie." Julie being Julie Allbright, her American Girl doll ($118). "And some pajamas for her ($22) and the matching ones for me." ($40) "Oh, and I really want an iPod!" (Whew, done deal, she's getting mine when Santa Hubby brings me an iPhone)
"What else?" I ask.
"Well, I have some questions. Y'know. Things I want to know..."
"Like?" I prompt
"Well, just if he could tell me if Heaven is real. And what it's like. And if I get to be a mermaid. But mostly what it's like and if I'll go there because then if I know, I won't be so scared."
"Ah," says I, "those are excellent questions." I'm just trying to actively listen, not take over the conversation and see where she's going with this.
"Oh, and if he can tell me what happened to Mr. Bierman, I really want to know." This is my great-grandfather who abandoned the family and was ne'er heard from again so that branch of the family tree just ends cold. Panda is very bothered by this.
"So do I," I said, "I don't know why I never thought of asking Santa, I wonder if he knows..."
"He knows everything. Oh and one more thing, I want to ask him to let me fly."
"Fly? You mean in an airplane?"
"No. Fly. For real. In the sky. It's my dream. I want to ask him if he'll let me and my cousins fly when they come visit us."
"...Rinse off, now," I say, and close the shower door so I can just sit down on the bathmat and think all this through. Jeeps and I always leave a note from Santa on the dining room table, next to the plate of cookie crumbs and half-drunk glass of milk. I'm blogging this half to preserve the moment and half to take notes on what Santa needs to cover in his yearly missive.
By the way, Redman wants a snowmobile for Christmas.