We seemed to be traveling into another dimension...a dimension not only of sight and sound..but of losing my mind...There's a signpost up ahead.."Next exit- 20 miles"
Christmas eve in a mini-van. A mini-van with four bouncing overly excited children. Santa was coming-tonight! . We were on our way home from a happy family outing. We had done a little shopping, had lunch, the kids even got balloons. We were a joyful bunch, ready for a quite evening of cookie baking and bed. I happened to glance out the window to see a sign stating that our exit was in 20 miles-and at that exact same moment I heard a pop. My five year old daughters balloon had died. It was going to be a long ride home.
"Lily, a balloon is nothing to cry over.."
It's just a balloon...there will be more balloons in your life-I promise"
" I know you loved it..please stop screaming at your sister"
"Zoe don't cry..Lily please stop screaming.."
"I'm warning you...don't throw that...Lil..don't...!"
"Lil you CAN'T throw things at papa's head when he's driving..we almost hit that car...please stop screaming..Sammy!-why are YOU crying?!!!"
"Honey, we are o.k.-no one was hurt...she just can't throw things ever"
"Lily PLEASE stop screaming"
19 miles until our exit.
At this point, I want to cry. Lily is screaming, Zoe is crying, Sammy is crying, my husband is tense...I'm thinking about jumping out the window(and crying)..When all of a sudden, amidst all this chaos, Oscar starts to sing. In his raspy, slightly off-key voice, he is belting out "jingle bells".. In the two seconds that Lily stopped to catch her breath, I asked him, "why?" He said "It's Christmas, I want to cheer us up" I looked at my husband, who was as perplexed as I was..Who was this boy? Where was the kid who freaked out at times like this, who hated loud noise and chaos? When did this change occur, and why hadn't I noticed...did something happen when the balloon popped? Was I somehow in another dimension...had we entered the twilight zone? This was so unexpected and so out of character. On any other day, it would have been us trying to calm Oscar, not the other way around. On any other day, Oscar would have been screaming right along with Lily, if not, louder. On any other day, Oscars behavior would have made that last 19 miles feel like 19 years. But this was not any other day-it was today, it was now and it was spectacular. Sometimes, especially on days like that one, it is better not to question..Sometimes you just need to accept the unexpected.Sometimes your kids bloom when you're not looking...I saw no other option but to join him in singing-we all did. Boisterously. Except for Lily, who continued to scream the rest of the way home.(also boisterously) What a wonderful and unexpected ride that turned out to be. What a wonderful and suprising boy our Oscar is(and always was). His song was a wonderful present-on so many levels.
The next morning, after the kids had opened all their gifts, Sammy turned to me and said "I heard noises on the roof last night. I think it was Santa." Maybe..or maybe it was Rod Serling, holding a balloon. I'm certainly not going to question it.