The Last Therapy Session

He’s been seeing her because of an uncontrollable rage that began in kindergarten when he hit a friend with a toy truck in the sandbox. The little girl needed stitches. In first grade, his teacher would bring him down to the basement to kick a beanbag chair. By third grade, therapy had helped him transfer his anger from his fists and his feet to his words… and I received a number of reports of him screaming in a wild rage at his teachers for not understanding him, siding with his classmates, not listening.

He morphed from the class Buddha one day to a whirlwind of anger and self-doubt the next.

But he’s a fourth grader now. Importantly, he has a couple of best friends who he seems to have figured out will stick by him when things get rough. The rage is thawing.

So, I wasn’t surprised when his therapist said at the end of yesterday’s session that he doesn’t need to see her anymore. “Let’s move to an as-needed basis.”

The funny thing was that she didn’t “re-neg” when he told her about Christmas Eve – and an unique experience he’s been sharing boldly for almost a month now.

“I saw Santa!”

She didn’t understand at first. “At the mall? Downtown?”

“The real one. I woke up in the middle of the night and forgot it was Christmas, and I thought I heard something downstairs. So, I went down,” his eyes sparkled and his smile lit up like a Christmas tree., “and there he was!”

She grinned back, trying not to look at me. “Wowwwww! Did you say anything?”

“Nope, I didn’t want to get in trouble. So, I tiptoed back upstairs.”

“He didn’t see you?”

“I am very good at sneaking around.” So proud.

“I have never heard of anyone actually getting to see him. You are the luckiest kid in the world,” then with a vigorous nod from him, she transitioned, “So, did you get anything good?”

He listed his presents. A small drone. A t-shirt from his favorite Youtube channel. A game called Timeline. But when she asked which one was his favorite…

“Seeing Santa! That’s the best gift anyone could ask for!”

Questions of Faith on Christmas Eve

Walking out of mass on Christmas Eve, our son asked, “Why wasn’t I baptized?”

Then before I could answer… “I don’t really know what I believe.”

I slipped my hand in his as we walked down the snow-covered street to the car.

“I know I believe that Jesus was a man, and he was good, and he was God’s son. But,” the 10-year-old sighed deeply, “the story of Noah’s Ark confuses me.”

“Why?”

“It doesn’t make sense that the whole world got destroyed, then one guy with a few animals started it all over from scratch.”

Imperfect Treats for Santa

Our 10-year-old wrote a note to Santa last night.

Dear Santa, here are some treats for you and your reindeer. Merry Christmas!

We only had a few snowman-shaped half-cookies left, and I was adding the obligatory carrots to the platter for Rudolph and crew, when he put his hand on my arm to stop me. “Wait!” from such a serious face, “You need to wash them first!”

Then when no one was looking, he added to the note to address the broken cookies.

Sorry the heads got bitten off.

He’s right. Santa deserves better than half-eaten cookies and unwashed carrots. We’ll do better next year.

A Rooftop Christmas Crash

On Christmas Eve, just before the kids went down for their long winter nap and, according to NORAD, Rudolph’s red nose was leading Santa north from South America, our 12 year old lost a tooth.

Already excited, the lost tooth and resulting bloody grin infused the boys with even more energy. It took some time to settle down as Mom and Dad worried that Santa – and now the Tooth Fairy – would fall asleep before the kids did.

Then I heard someone gasp, “What if Santa and the Tooth Fairy crash into each other at our house?”

And all I could think was….

Another 15 minutes of adrenaline as young brains ponder the possibility. Another 15 minutes before Santa and the Tooth Fairy can sleep.

Jacket and Tie

The boys dressed up for mass and dinner on Christmas Eve. I am used to complaining and grumpiness because khakis aren’t soft enough or there are too many buttons on shirts. So my nine year old surprised me. He has finally grown into one of the blue blazers in the house, and that made him really proud. He asked if he could shower first, went in search of a tie, dug out a nice pair of shoes that an older brother wore once, and grinned ear to ear at me every time I caught his eye.

It had never occurred ot me that a blue blazer and tie might be a milestone, something to remember forever until I saw that smile.

A Most Critical Review

I wrote a story about our dog, Star and an incident at the North Pole for my second grader. I thought he might want to illustrate it, since he likes to draw.

My older boys read it first. “Mom, this is good!”

But the second grader had major edits.

The premise is that our wild, clumsy, undisciplined Star causes Dasher to break his leg in a pick-up soccer game only seven days before Christmas. Star and her boy owner then must journey to find a substitute flying reindeer in time to save Christmas.

“But it wasn’t really Star’s fault! It was Dasher’s!”

Hmmmm….

“Dasher was the one who ran too fast and slid on the ice!”

“Good point,” I said.

“It’s not fair that everyone is mad!”

“You’re a very good editor.”

“Star wasn’t even a little bit naughty, Mom.”

“I definitely have to rewrite that part.”

“Definitely.”

Is he a natural editor, or has he had too many such playground debates? “It’s not my fault! It’s not fair! I wasn’t even that naughty!”