This (below) is my first Christmas. Actually, it’s technically my second. Because I was born three days before Christmas, my first Christmas was spent coming home from the hospital. The hospital wrapped me in a giant red and white Christmas stocking that day.
Sadly, no one cared to take a photo of my homecoming or my stocking bunting. I used to love to look at that stocking when I was a kid. It was at the foot of Grandma’s bed in her cedar chest. I always wished I could hang that by the chimney and that Santa would fill it with wonderful surprises. And I was always disappointed when Grandma wouldn’t let me, and I had to hang a normal sized stocking instead.
Each year, I eagerly looked forward to sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what I wanted. I vividly remember just how exciting it was when Grandma and I went to the department store and we saw the red and white arrows leading to Santa’s chair. (I always thought it looked more like a throne.)
Back then, they didn’t offer photos with Santa, so this is the only picture I have with me and the big guy. (Considering my Grandma’s mentality of “don’t waste the film,” I’m actually surprised I even have this one. Isn’t it funny that after her raising me with that mindset, I grew up to be a professional photographer?)
Now that Grandma’s ninety-five years old and lives in a nursing home, she can’t take me to sit on Santa’s lap anymore. And now, instead of me sitting on Santa’s lap, I take photos of other children with the big guy. Only I don’t just sit the child on his lap. I like to do artistic photos with Santa, including having him read a story to the children and have cookies and milk with them.
My son, when he’s available, is actually who plays Santa for my studio now. And on Christmas Day, when my kids and I go visit Grandma at the nursing home, Jeremy (begrudgingly) dresses as Santa to see his great-grandma. And I just smile because I went from getting eagerly excited to go visit Santa to being happy that I gave birth to him. And instead of Grandma taking me to see the big guy, I now take the big guy to her.
The tables certainly have turned!
Talk to me: Did you used to look forward to sitting on Santa’s lap? Would you have allowed your child to hang the giant stocking on the fireplace? Would you have taken a photo of your new baby in the giant stocking?