Saturday, December 20, 2008

Don't Drop the Baby

Today I took my little daughter to see Santa Claus at the mall. She was so excited, dressed up in her sparkly red velvet dress trimmed in white fur. She was a beautiful sight with her blue eyes and wavy blonde hair pulled to one side with a red bow. It was pure delight as we walked through the mall (I walked, she skipped and twirled) looking for Santa as she giggled and laughed and shouted in excitement.

When we finally reached Santa's station, we got in line. My daughter was enthralled with the huge Christmas trees and candy cane archways. All the little children were bouncing up and down with anticipation; some of them brought letters for Santa or lists to read on his lap. At the front of the line, Santa was sitting in his big green armchair, dressed in his red and white robes to match my daughter, with a bowl of candy canes beside him. He had that traditional Santa look, complete with a real white beard, glasses, and boots.

When I got to the front of the line, I watched as the mother in front of me readied her children for the visit. She gently lifted her sleeping baby boy from his stroller, and put him to her shoulder as she walked her little girl over to sit on Santa's lap. The baby looked to be about 6 months old; he opened his eyes wide as he woke to the lights and sounds of Christmas around him. The mother walked over to Santa and handed him the little baby to hold in his arms, and turned to speak a few words of reassurance to her little girl who was having a sudden case of Santa Terror and was on the verge of freaking out entirely at the sight of this strange bearded man in a big green chair. What happened next seemed so surreal to me that I wasn't even sure I was seeing things right.

The mother had not turned her back for 10 seconds when the little baby boy on Santa's lap started to slide forward out of his arms. Not crying, mind you, just sliding, as if Santa had forgotten to hold on tightly enough. It almost looked like Santa was *letting* the baby slide off his lap. The baby dropped down between Santa's legs and then face planted on the floor in front of him. Santa sat, arms at his sides, just *looking.* He never tried to grab the baby; didn't try to pick him up. The mother turned and saw her baby crying on the floor. Can you imagine?? You hand your baby to Satan, I mean Santa, turn your back for a few seconds, and the next thing you see is your baby face planted on the hard floor at Santa's feet? Santa continued sitting as if nothing happened as the mother picked up her baby, grabbed her daughter, and took off. And with that, it was the next child's turn.

My daughter, thankfully, saw none of this, as she had just discovered a Christmas toy in line as we waited. I had mixed feelings about letting her up there with that man, but she so wanted to see Santa, so we went on and had our little visit under my watchful eye (I sat her in the chair next to him, and *not* on his lap. I had to restrain myself from hissing at him, "You dropped that baby! What is wrong with you!!!) And then we went on our way and bought my son a coat.

Do you get so used to the routine things in your life that you forget how important they really are? For example, your health. Do you take it for granted and just *let it slide* until it plops on the floor in front of you? Life is like a fragile little baby. It needs nurturing and attention and focus. We have to hang on to the important things, whether that's daily exercise, counting calories, getting enough sleep, or just doing whatever it takes to lose weight/be healthy/avoid a heart attack or diabetes. If you get distracted, or worse yet, complacent about that baby in your lap, you might just let it go so far that it ends in disaster.

I've come to the conclusion that Santa probably was sick of seeing so many kids and babies day after day, hour after hour in that hot suit, and started to just see each kid as a task, rather than as a real person. If he had looked at that baby as someone's precious child that they adore... as a wonderful miracle of life... would he have dropped the baby? No, he wouldn't have. That baby was not squirming or trying to get away; Santa just let him drop, and unless Santa has dementia or had a brief, unnoticed seizure, this was completely preventable. Santa never even said he was sorry. He did not look embarrassed or upset. He was just like, "Next?"

Unfortunately, if *you* drop the baby, there may be no "next." We get one life, and we have to take care of it. We have to pay attention and hang on and recognise the great gift we have been given. And that means not just sitting on your butt eating chips and cookies while your arteries clog and your blood sugar skyrockets. Don't be complacent. Live in the moment.

And I did report that incident to the mall... just in case that mother needs an eyewitness account. I hope that Santa gets fired.

23 comments:

Vickie said...

my guess would be that he didn't even fully realize that he did it. I often wonder what kind of health screenings Santa's get. If they are retired the rest of the year - and have any type of health problems - they could be quite out of it - blood sugar, fatigue, dizzy, etc.

Diana said...

I love this post! This is exactly what I keep telling everyone, but you said it so much better. We have to constantly be vigilant in our efforts to get and remain healthy. It's so easy to "drop the baby". We forget how important our health and well being are to us and start sliding down that slippery slope until we're flat on face on the floor. Thanks again...awesome post!
Diana

Ron said...

It probably happened so fast that Santa didn't even realize what was happening, however, Hopefully someone had a talk with Santa about being more careful. Kinda like we bloggers talk to each other to keep us from dropping the baby!

CJ said...

That was awful! If he was that tired of children, etc. he shouldn't be there.

Great post. We all have to make sure we don't "drop the baby" in our own lives!

Genavieve said...

I can't help but wonder if Santa realized it was a real baby and not some life-like baby doll. Obviously, I wasn't there, but I think one of the important take-aways from this isn't just the literal and metaphorical "don't drop the baby." It's also to recognize and have compassion in situations where we only understand a small part of what's going on.

Sabs said...

Great post! I think I have dropped my baby a couple of times... I need to focus on even the routine things I have taken for granted to many times.

Karyn said...

Really good analogy, Lyn. Good job.

Laurens_Closet said...

How do you let a baby drop to the floor & faceplant? Maybe the guy had a mini stroke?? If it were one of MY chitlin's I'd be questioning the guy, that's for sure!!!

Thanks, once again, for the beautiful post! And I'm making your butternut squash mac & cheese tonight~ YUM YUM... I can't wait!

Amy

Hanlie said...

Good for you for reporting this incident! It's totally appalling!

Your analogy is great though. You are so right... I'm gonna hold on tight to my baby!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Genavieve's additional comment about having compassion about something we don't know all about. Since we don't know what was going on on his side, we can't immediately call the guy a bad man. He may have had a reason for not reacting. He seemed to have been out of it. I doubt he would purposely let that happen, especially in front of others, but then again, he could have not cared. Either way, we can't judge him.

Neelith said...

I love this post. What a great visual reminder of taking care of your health. You really have a way with words!

Lyn said...

Laurens_Closet~

I wondered if the guy had some kind of medical problem, too. It was SO STRANGE how he just sat there, with a baby crying at his feet. He looked down and saw the baby screaming there, but didn't look upset, worried, concerned... nothing. He never showed the slightest emotion about the incident. When I went up with my child he just looked tired. Not distressed or anything, he just talked to my daughter about what she wants for Christmas but I don't think he ever cracked a smile. Looked like he just didn't want to be there.

As far as judging goes, I certainly can't judge him as a person, but I can say for sure that he is not the kind of Santa I'd *ever* want holding my baby.

teenageveggiehead said...

good thing you reported that!
that was horrible of him not even to care like that!

i love your blog - so inspiring!

Bunny Trails said...

You certainly have a way with words! Maybe he hadn't sunk in before she grabbed the child (trying to give him the benefit of the doubt)? That is crazy!

Great analogy!

Meg said...

wow--what a great post. Nice parallel. Thanks!

Jenny said...

Screw giving him the benefit of the doubt. It's his JOB to work with kids. If he can't even hold a child on his lap, he should not be there...simple as that. I'm sure he's not a 'bad man', but he was not doing a good job, regardless. I'm glad the baby is okay! Imagine if he/she were seriously injured. I'm surprised the mom didn't rip him a new one.

With that said, I loved your post. You definitely have a way with words. :) Thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Four days without an update on how you're doing...hope it's well! Looking forward to hearing what you're learning!

Annimal said...

I agree with Jenny. I'm sick of people not doing a quality job, whether they think it's beneath them or they are sick of it--then move on. That Santa should have been fired on the spot. Not only did he partake in purposely hurting the child, but older children are very intuitive and they'll know when "Santa" is just doing the job. How disappointing. I'm tired of rude clerks, poor service and indiferent salespeople.
I'm being a lot more selective with my money and I will not spend it when I'm treated poorly.

Steve and Jamie said...

How funny. I thought for a moment that you were talking about my nephew. Santa dropped my nephew last week. My nephew is pretty squirmy though so I don't know if I would blame Santa.

Juice said...

Lyn you are SUCH a talented writer! Thanks for this timely post - I was getting ready to drop a baby. God bless and Merry Christmas.

A different Lyn said...

Truthfully, as accusatory as people are these days I can imagine that "Santa" probably can't really touch the children. Think if he had tried to hold on to the baby, while reaching around the little girl on his other lap. Someone would have said he was a creepy old man trying to hug a child close. It's the grown ups that have made poor Santa sick of his job.

Bethany said...

OH.MY.WORD! I would have given Satan, I mean Santa, a swift kick in the seat of the pants if that had been my child! Unbelievable...
I hope he gets fired too.
~Bethany

kilax said...

Oh my. I am not sure whether to laugh at that Santa or be appalled!