It’s almost the Holidays and if there’s one thing you can count on- it’s parents in a crazy rage frantically searching to spoil their kids with whatever new toy Target doesn’t have enough of. We end up selling our souls on the black market just so our kids can unwrap a defective Hatchimal on Christmas morning and then never touch it again.
If the rush of adrenaline isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, just wait until your husband finds out what you spent when the bank statement arrives. The things I did for that damn Hatchimal….
But when will we learn?
And it isn’t just with toys, it’s with events, too. Like Misery on Ice or whatever it’s called, or the biPolar Express. On several occasions I’ve set all kinds of alarms just to sit there at my laptop with my iPad and my phone, all logged onto the same site just waiting for the exact minute that ticket sales start, even if it’s 3 am on a Tuesday. Heart pounding, hands shaking. I feel like I’m tweaking out. I’m so nervous, it’s like my kid’s entire childhood is riding on my page-refreshing skills. Faster! FASTER! I NEED that ticket. Give it to me! I’ll do anything!
But just like with the toys, all the planning, effort, and sacrifices just end up backfiring in your face. Or maybe it’s just me.
Let me tell you about the time I scored the very best seats on the Polar Express.
Do you know about this event? It’s a Christmastime train ride based on the book/movie in which your family gets to take a magical journey filled with cookies, hot chocolate, and singing elves- all the way to the North Pole to see jolly old Santa himself. It’s like the childhood dream my parents never cared about me enough to fulfill.
The tickets are sold in two groups; First Class, and coach. And each train car has a special name depending on where they are located. For example, you might be in Glacier Gulch or the Elve’s Secret Workshop in First class; or in coach, the Conductor’s Porta Potty.
This is why it’s so important to get those perfect tickets, right?
You see, I thought I had scored the best seats on the whole damn train. Not only did I manage to nab 4 tickets, at a TABLE, in First Class, before tickets sold out in three and a half minutes, but I got the North Pole car. THE NORTH POLE, people! It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s like winning the lottery of mom-brags.
And it started off so well, too. We arrived on time and in our matching family PJ’s- excited for the perfect night where clearly nothing could go wrong. I think maybe it snowed? Who cares, just imagine it anyway.
We boarded the train and got a table in the front of the train car, of course. I think I remember someone bowing to us as we entered, I was practically royalty for all my hard work. I even leaned over to whisper in my toddler’s ear- this is First Class, baby!
As the train started rolling we sang, we consumed two days worth of sugar, and we reveled in our uppity but momentary luxury status. Who’s the best Mommy? I am!
And then, as the big moment arrived and we reached our namesake the North Pole, Santa stepped onto the train.
And it all went downhill from there.
“What in the Kanye West is that smell!?”
It was sudden and atrocious. Like all of the worst things you can possibly imagine, mixed together and left to bake in the hot desert sun. Did we run over days-old roadkill lodged in the tracks? Did someone open a window and let the putrid stink of East St Louis enter our Premium quarters??
What IS that?
As Santa got closer and closer to our private table, the smell got more intense. It was hard to concentrate on anything else when we were all just struggling to find breathable air.
When he approached our table yelling “Ho Ho Ho!” we immediately pinpointed the source. It was Santa himself. Was he on the wrong car? Should I direct him to coach? What is happening? This is First Class!
Stop the train. Let us off. I’ll take my chances on the East Side. Because now he was trying to convince my son to sit on his lap.
No. We all shook our heads. I squinted my eyes so tight as if it would somehow magically remove this man from my line of smell. Goblin King, Goblin King, wherever you may be!
But not before I saw the look of complete disgust/terror/confusion on my 3 year old’s face.
That was it. The show’s over. I knew right then and there that Santa would never be the same in the eyes, or the nose, of my child.
Santa had barely turned around before I heard the words “Mommy, why does Santa smell so bad?” Which he continued to ask me for two straight years.
Instead of $600 First Class tickets, we got a front row seat to a science lesson about what happens to the human body when a man doesn’t shower for 7 months.
So next time you’re feeling a little snobby and think you need to provide your offspring with something extra expensive and brag-worthy just so you can be the very best, I want you to go outside, lift the lid of your trash can, stick your head in, and take a big whiff.
And then level-down to coach where we belong.
Lindsay is a working wife and mom who just had to say goodbye to her 14 year old dog and first baby, Darla. She is currently in the midst of the 3rd stage of grief which is Amazon purchases.