Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giddy up, jingle horse

Today's post about gifts I can't bear to give away is at Toxophily.

The long holiday weekend meant increased pressure on us to find things to do with the kids. When I got an e-mail announcing that the local Festival of Light was opening the day after Thanksgiving, complete with horse and buggy rides through the mile-long animated displays, we decided we'd go if it wasn't raining.

We arrived just as it opened, and all the lights weren't even up yet -- Santa was missing one or two reindeer from his sled, and the wire-frame tunnels that separate some of the displays had no colorful lights. But we drove along the familiar stations (Santa's workshop, nativity scene, toy train, twelve days of Christmas, ice skaters, frantically-waving snowman) and then stopped at the central building where model trains were set up and hot cocoa was available.

Mrs. Claus told us that Santa would be arriving by horse and carriage at 6:30, and families quickly lined up to take the ride around the fields. It started to spit rain, and we saw that the wait would be at least 15-20 minutes before we could have a turn. Thinking that the kids couldn't wait that long, we started to go home.

But Archer wouldn't let us go. His face crumpled, and he struggled to hold his emotions in check. "Can we have a ride?" he begged, on the verge of tears. We decided to stay.

And I'm so glad we did. Archer was transported during our trot around the grounds, his face split wide with a grin, his eyes alight. In the back of the large carriage, huddled together with a blanket over our laps, listening to the bells on the horse jingle as we seemed to fly along, the children were utterly charmed, and the adults were cheered seeing the delight on their faces. Although we sometimes see Archer's lack of flexibility as a problem to be overcome, in this case his insistence led us to change our plans -- and magic ensued. Thanks, big man.

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