That’s how many times I’ve shown my son’s picture of meeting Santa Claus to people in December.
His look of excitement still melts my heart a gazillion and one times later.
But this moment of holiday bliss took a lot of effort to capture.
We actually met Santa earlier on the Polar Express (since Sequim’s last train left long ago). We were greeted with hot cocoa, cookies, carols and lights as we traveled to the North Pole. But the cruel grinch known as luck-of-the-draw showed up.
Since we were sitting on the back of the train, Santa, in all his jolliness, greeted my son first with a merry “Ho, Ho, Ho.” However, just like millions possibly billions of children before my son who meet Saint Nick for the first time, he was frightened and the waterworks began.
It took him a few minutes to recover but our son warmed up to Santa. Once the train stopped we were given another shot at our picture-perfect opportunity.
It took a little while but once he realized how magical everything was, it clicked.
His photo shows that moment of realization that Santa and this thing called Christmas can be great.
As a new father, I’ve done a lot of reminiscing and thinking of my time as a child on Christmas.
I feel the Christmas experience can be great but sometimes we put Christmas morning as an experience on a pedestal. We have weeks of buildup with decorations, holiday foods and the ever-tempting presents under the tree.
You may imagine a new toolbox but when you open it you find a pair of Spongebob slippers, it’s kind of a letdown. But that mystery is what can be exciting at Christmas and with life in general.
Take a moment to look at your own life and consider all the paths you’ve taken, whether it’s with relationships, your career or what you’ve eaten for dinner.
We can all relate that we’ve seen some kind of change and had to adjust.
This January I’ll have been in Sequim five years after being a lifelong Oregonian. While it hasn’t been long enough to justify being nostalgic, I think I can share my gratitude for this little city because without it I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
It was Christmas Eve 2008 when I got the call for a job offer in Sequim. It was more than a month after I interviewed and even longer after bad weather prevented me from making my first interview.
I had just made the journey to Salem, Ore., to see an old friend through snow and ice when I answered my phone. I was ecstatic to have a job particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
As I started here in mid-January, I loved the excitement of being someplace new but as always with the ups of being somewhere new, came a few rough patches.
I missed home at first and I had a tough time with the Sequim learning curve. At one point, I made an effort to explore more. I was everywhere covering stories and snapping photos of everything — eagles, lavender, music events and bake sales.
Thankfully, my love of sweets led me to a school bake sale. It was there that I first asked my wife to coffee even though I don’t drink coffee.
If it weren’t for Sequim, I might not have met my wife. So that’s one point for Sequim.
A few years later, we’d have our son who has brought us an immense amount of blessings. Plus he’s a great dancer. So there’s two things going for Sequim.
And as I became a family man, I’ve realized Sequim helps me to be a better person. No day is the same with new experiences — challenging and fun — but they’ve only made me a stronger. Three points.
Sequim has given me what I love most — a family and an opportunity to grow. So Sequim, here’s a gazillion points. Happy 2014 and may we continue to grow for the better together.