santa in the city

I joked last year that Santa must live at the Ronald McDonald House because he was often seen in the building. And, in all seriousness, there is no better place for him to lounge. The children in the house are full of happiness, thankfulness, and magic - pure magic.

Without a visit from Santa at the RMH, we would not have seen Santa this year. The crowded mall, the long lines, and the germs all make for a bad idea. When kids are sick, were sick, or need to avoid getting sick, everyone in the family is affected. So the simple event of seeing Santa turns from a routine, yearly passage to a really big deal.

To see Parker's face light up when Santa suddenly appeared during dinner. To hold my breath in hopes that Matilda would not cry. To feel the excitement in the room when Santa went from table to table quietly checking in with every child to tell them if they ate well, he would be waiting in the living room for pictures and presents. I could not speak, I did not try to hold back my tears because, you guys, it really was Santa.

As families finished eating, they would go for a visit. There was no line, no screaming children, no runny noses or sneezing to be heard. Just laughter and quiet Chistmas music in the air. Santa was gentle and kind. He never rushed and spent as much time with each child as they wanted. He knew everyone's name. Parker requested a new train track and, with a wink from me, Santa explained that on Christmas morning he would have one waiting, but for now he could enjoy a new helicopter, personally picked for him.

We brought our gifts up to our room, but Parker was too excited so we went back down. With Parker snuggled on my lap, we watched as Santa showed such kindness to each and every child. The whole house was filled to the brim with goodness and none of us wanted to let the moment go. I snuck back down once the kids were tucked in bed to get one last glimmer of the magic and to my surprise Santa was still there. I gave him a hug and thanked him with tears once again filling my eyes. He told me that he remembered Matilda from last year and was happy to see her so big and doing well.

The NYPD takes such good care of the kids at the Ronald McDonald House. The city should be forever proud.

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