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She Touched My Heart

Story ID:10388
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
Year:2014
Person:Little Girl
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In early December, 2014, I volunteered to be Santa for our apartment complex.
I always wanted to play Santa for the children. He’s a magical and mystical figure to
them. He brings dreams and hopes.

Santa would be at the clubhouse from three until five PM. I arrived early, in
case there were children lined up at the door.
There were none.

Dressed in my flattering red and white suit, I sat in the big chair they arranged for
Santa’s visit. Megan, our apartment manager looked at me, “Mike …I mean Santa,
your beard is crooked.” She helped me adjust it.

I looked down and noticed the cushion stuffed into the pocket under my suit
was out of alignment. My jolly belly was twisted to one side. I moved it back into place.
I sat for thirty minutes …a Santa without a child is a Valentine without love, a
parent without a child and a child without a parent.

The children came.

I went from bored to busy in a few minutes. The parents with their children
became a stream that filled Santa’s pond.

There were children who ran up and told me all they wished for. Some were
scared of the old bearded man. Their parents encouraged them to sit on Santa’s lap, but
they were too afraid. I gave them a candy cane. They were happy with that.

One little girl crawled eagerly onto my lap. “Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, little
one. What would you like for Christmas?”

She sat silent, staring at me and finally said, “Santa, all I want for Christmas is
for my parents to visit me.”

I looked into her little blue eyes and tried not to cry. I don’t have training in child
welfare. What was I supposed to say?

I did my best, “Honey, I know you want your mommy and daddy, but I’m not
sure if I can bring them to you. I do promise to do my best.”

I gave her a candy cane.
She slipped off my lap, but not from my heart.

Other children came and went. I was Santa, spreading joy, but there was one child
I couldn’t help.

Five PM approached. It was almost time for Santa to go back to the North Pole
and prepare for his trip on Christmas Eve.

There were a few parents and children mingling in the club house, enjoying the
remaining snacks our apartment manager supplied.

I heard, “Santa?”

I looked down. It was that same little girl.

“Yes, sweetie? What can I do for you?”

“Santa, I forgot to give you a hug.”

I don’t know how I held tears from spilling down my cheeks. “Well, come up
here and give me one.”

I reached down, lifted her up and felt her little arms wrap around me. “I love
you, Santa!” she said into my ear.

I hope and pray her parents did visit her. I wish I had watched to see who she was
with and asked them about her parents. I suspect she was in foster care. I may never
know, but I do know she touched my heart.

Michael T. Smith