Well, folks, the cards are all out on the table here at the Riley Home. A couple of weeks ago, Mikayla and I had "the talk". No, not the one regarding sex....we've already had THAT one with both kids....no, this was the even more important matter....SANTA CLAUS.
The whole issue of Santa Claus can be a hot button topic for parents, I know - but for OUR family, we embraced it. It was a magical part of our childhood (dashed all too soon, I might add..hhhmmmm....Dad.....), so I've been especially vigilant in trying to let the kids learn on their own time the truth about the big guy in red.
It was a sweet conversation with Mikayla - I breached the subject by asking how she distinguished between gifts from Daddy and I under the tree and those from Santa. She said she didn't know, but had a sheepish expression. After some playful back and forth banter, it was revealed she knew the truth.....and I gotta tell you - WHAT A RELIEF! All of the typed out tags and special wrapping paper and explanation as to why there's a pile of gifts stacked in boxes in our boat are a thing of the past. It's a grand conspiracy that now the whole Riley clan is a part of - happy to keep the charade going, but delighted to know the "real story". You'd think I'd be disappointed about losing this chapter of our life, but instead, I'm thankful that we pulled it all off and both kids are genuinely happy that we didn't scar them for life in leading them to believe in such things, but instead are eager for their own role in keeping the "magic" alive in others.
All of these details eventually lead me to the conclusion that times will be a'changin' soon regarding Black Friday. Already, Brayden took place in his second year of midnight Woodburn Outlet shopping with John and Travis. And, Mikayla now desperately wants to be part of our girl adventures. We put her off this year, explaining we weren't sure where the Schilling kids stood with the whole Santa issue - and if she went they'd want to, and the whole purpose of Black Friday kind of ruins the idea of Santa. But, next year....I suspect she'll be coming along...she'll have to practice her stamina weeks in advance though.
BECAUSE....this whole midnight Black Friday thing....it's TOUGH! Michele and I started off at Walmart at 8:30pm scoring deals much earlier than we ought to have (and leaving shoppers that arrived "on time" deeply disappointed). This picture was then taken in the rain at Target, where we waited from about 10pm until the opening at midnight.....
It was while we were waiting here that we got the VERY SAD news that Mom would not be joining us. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO! She came down with a fluke issue that had her recovering in bed and in a good deal of discomfort. What a huge bummer....first we have to start the night before, and now, Mom can't join us. Sigh....
We trudged through, though - hoping to make Mom proud in finding everything on our list despite the hours waiting in line and nastiness of sleep-deprived bargain hunters. Kohls was the killer for me....the 2am 90 minute wait just about did us in.
When we finally made exited the mall around 5:30 am, where I was ready to curl up in fetal position among the J.C. Penney slippers - I thought to myself, this is what my brother-in-law, Jeff (John's twin brother) does in staying up for 24 hours straight in his races, but only he's running at a ten minute mile pace throughout!!!! Unbelievable....again, I'm in awe, because I was done in.
So, next year might look even more different, but despite all of the physical detriment to my body, I'm already excited for it!!!