Christmas Traditions: North Pole City



I pretty much fell off the face of the earth there for a few days because Barfageddon came and brought the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse with it. First Jude was sick, and it was all too reminiscent of this little episode a few years ago which is a fantastic story of barf, by the way), and amazingly I came through unscathed. However, I was not so lucky this go-around as Friday night, it hit with

First, Jude came down with the stomach flu earlier in the week, which meant several days of sleeping on the couch with him (so he didn’t barf all the way down the stairs coming to get me) and running the washing machine on sanitize almost nonstop.  But it seemed like we were out of the woods on Friday and we had a great day. Knock on wood, right? Well, I was struck down on Friday night and let’s just say that it was not pretty. I may  never eat strawberry shortcake ever again. Simon found me on the bathroom floor around 11pm and I told him, “SAVE YOURSELF.” Which means, go upstairs and sleep in the guest bedroom so you don’t get this too. Around 2am, I was so wretchedly miserable that I decided I needed help, so I dialed his cell phone. Nope. He had left it in our room. I was so sick, I couldn’t make it upstairs to go get him, so I called my dad, thinking he could maybe call in a RX for me for something to make the tossing of the cookies come to a fruitful end. No luck. But he did have medicine, so he asks if Simon could come get it? No BECAUSE I CANNOT GET HIM TOWAKE UP FROM HERE.

God bless all parents. My precious folks got in their car, drove across town at 3am, and brought me medicine. Can you believe that? How wonderful are they? Dad stood over me and said, “I think you should go to the ER for fluids. You don’t look so good.”

This is the part of the story where Simon asks, “Why on earth did you not send your Dad upstairs to come get me?”

Because in my sick stupor, all I could imagine was Simon freaking out over being woken up in a strange bed in the middle of the night by a man in the dark. Not to mention Jude being up there. It just was a complete and utter comedy of error.  He felt terrible when he found out I had been so sick all night!

So let’s think about something happier. Like Christmas. And the fun things we did in the hours before Stomach Flu Round 2 hit the Shingleton household.  One of our Christmas traditions is to visit the holiday Disneyland that is North Pole City.  This is a store that is only open from September to January and it is a total holiday sensory overload. It even has a miniature train ride and little elf houses the kids can go in. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience and I absolutely love it. Luckily, Jude does too. Every time we drive by it, he begs to go in and so now that it’s that time of year, I was happy to oblige.

When we go, we always pick out an ornament or two apiece and we make an effort to visit Santa. At North Pole City, you take a pager and then you’re buzzed back when it’s finally your time. (If you go, get a pager first thing – you might have to wait a long time, and you can fill the time with riding the little train and checking out the ornaments).  Santa takes a long time to talk to each child individually and then they take pictures. When it was finally our turn, we headed into the room and I sat in the corner to listen in on the conversation. Jude was evidently feeling very shy and couldn’t seem to think of a single thing he wanted for Christmas. Santa was sweet and asked him about his school and how old he was.

“Jude, you know, you have a bright light in your eyes, did you know that? You’re full of life.”

I smiled. Yup. I agree.  Then they started talking about sports and music. Since Jude seemed to be a bit tongue-tied I finally said, “You know, Santa, Jude likes music and he’s a good singer.”

He looked at Jude. Jude nodded shyly. “Would you sing a song for me, Jude?”

And then the sweetest thing happened. Jude nodded vigorously, opened his mouth and sweetly began singing our favorite hymn to sing together.

“Holy, holy holy

Lord God Almightly

Early in the morning

Our song shall rise to thee…”

I kind of couldn’t believe it. The room got really quiet and I started to cry. I looked up at the photographer and she was crying. The photographer’s assistant was crying. I’m pretty sure Santa was teary too. Then Santa started singing with him, and as I was sitting there, I thought, “This might be the most beautiful moment of the Christmas season to me.”

God bless that sweet boy, he had a whole room full of adults crying our eyes out and he didn’t even know it.

Christmas magic right there.

with love,

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