Category Archives: Holidays

When Santa Was Small

Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, whatever suits you.  It has been a hard week for this country.  A week full of grief and sadness.  I have no new words to share, no pearls of wisdom about this great loss; I just thought I would publish this small story I wrote to help spread some cheer. A story about Santa.  A story to remind us all about childhood and the fun and the mischief we got into.  Have a great holiday and hold your kids close, but also hug those adults you love. They were once kids too.

DSCN2373When Santa Was Small

T’was the night before Christmas, the kids tucked in tight,

all drifting off to sleep on a cold winter’s night,

with dreams of Santa Claus dancing through their heads,

and the gifts they would find when they sprang from their beds;

wind up robots, sparkly dolls and chocolaty sweets,

new books, bouncy balls, and shiny skates for their feet!

All except George, who sat up straight in his bed,

while visions of black coal filled up his head.

His eyes were big and round, his lips all a quiver,

his legs starting to shake, his body to shiver.

Was it real what he heard? Was it all true?

Santa could see everything that you do?

Like the time he told his mom he ate three cookies but really had four,

or when he taped “You have cooties!” to the girls’ bathroom door…

What about last week when he threw a spitball during lunch,

then kept throwing more, until he had thrown a whole bunch!

George slid down under his covers and hid.

There would be no presents now! Santa saw what he did!

Then his mom walked in and switched on the light,

“What’s wrong George?” She asked. “Something not right?”

George pulled back the blankets, poked out his head,

cleared his throat, took a gulp and quietly said,

“Mom, do you think Santa was ever just a young boy, like me

a boy who worried he might not find a present under the tree?

Do you think Santa ever sat in school, trying so hard not to wiggle,

but then his mouth started to twitch, and his legs started to jiggle?

At lunch did he gobble up his Jell-O, but not his fish sticks or peas,

and did he have to be reminded to say thank you and please?

Do you think he ever passed gas or let out a HUGE burp?

Did he drink his milk fast, through a straw, with a slurp?

Did he leap off the bus with a rip and roar

run up the steps and throw open the door?

Did he holler and jump, sprint and dash all about

until his big sister yelled, “Mom!” and his mom said, “Go out!”

Do you think Santa went out to skate on the ice

spinning and showing off,  then falling down…twice?

Mom, do you think Santa tried to be good, but sometimes was bad…

acting up, yelling out, driving everyone mad!

George’s mom smiled, kissed the top of his head,

pulled up the covers, fluffed his pillow and said,

“You know what I think…I think Santa did,

all of those things because he was once a kid.

A kid filled with sillies, with love and with joy,

a kid who made mistakes, like any small boy.

I bet… after Santa fell, his sister helped him back up,

and gave him hot chocolate in his favorite cup.

Then his mom made him a warm bath all full of bubbles

to help him unwind and forget all his troubles.

I think Santa sat and soaked ‘til he was shiny and clean,

and then brushed his teeth ‘til they glistened and gleamed.

He went and found his favorite pajamas with feet

and slid into his bed under soft, cozy sheets.

I think Santa’s dad read him a book and gave him a kiss,

and said, “Go to sleep now, little Saint Nick.”

Then his mom shut the door, leaving on one hall light,

whispering softly, “And don’t let those jingle bugs bite!”

And as he laid in his bed, I think Santa looked to the sky,

and dreamed about flying in a sleigh way up high…

with eight magic reindeer and hundreds of presents with bows,

zooming and zipping through the white Christmas snow.

So yes, I think Santa was once a just a boy,

a boy full of mischief and sillies and joy.

And I think he remembers what its like to be young.

all of the hard stuff and all of the fun,

because Santa, like you, was once little and small,

and Santa knows being a kid, well, that’s the best gift of all.

Anne Sawan 2012

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2012: Off And Running And Writing.

2012! Wow! How did that happen? Weren’t we all supposed to die about a million times already from some sort of apocalyptic disaster? I think there is one happening this year as well.  So this might just be it, the real end.  Better go live your dreams, make your wishes come true; eat that chocolate cake before we all explode into a million microbes.

I had a great 2011. I felt like I made some strides in my writing, and want to thank you all very every much for your votes in the various contests I entered. I truly appreciated all the support and encouragement.

These writing contests remind me of the races I subject myself to every few months.  I run and run and run, maybe limping a bit a long the way, then come home proudly clutching the medal that shows I did in fact pay the entry fee for the race and my kids jump around, asking, “So, did you win?” To which I inevitably reply something like, “No, but I was the 200th runner over the line!”  They stare at me, sadly shaking their heads and place a sympathetic hand on my shoulder saying, “That’s okay Mom.” Or, more likely,  “Wow, you stink.”

Look, I know going into these races I am not going to win but I love them. I am hooked. They challenge me, give me something to put my energy into and inspire me.  I see the true athletes out there and I am in awe. These people are good! They train year round, living and breathing this stuff. Me…not so much.  In many ways these races are a lot like the writing contests.  They provide me with a goal, urging me on, daring me to learn from my mistakes and to strive to become perhaps a just a little bit better.  Afterwards when I read over my material, see my glaring errors and then read other peoples entries and see their genius I think: That’s it!  I am done, no more writing for me… then I get just a sliver of good news.  Just enough to keep me going…like two great things that happened this past week.

One, I received news from Adoptive Families Magazine that my book, The Very Best Day, was the most read printable article of 2011. That felt great! (Not exactly sure what it means.  Aren’t they all printable?  But hey, take what you can!) Now I just need a publisher…

And, two, my book A is for Adoption was published last week in the January 2012 issue of Adoption Today. So all and all, a good end to 2011 and off to a running start in 2012.

I am placing a link to Adoption Today below, but I know some people have had trouble accessing it, so I will include a copy of A is for Adoption as well.

Now here is a quick disclaimer about the book. The book is narrated by a girl named Anna, which some people, including my own children, found a bit confusing given the makeup of my family (my oldest is named Anna).

Teddy: “Wait! Anna is adopted too?”

“No, Anna is not adopted. Eliza is adopted.”

Harry: “You never told us Anna is adopted!”

“Because she’s not.”

Teddy: “Am I adopted too?”

“No!”

Eliza (crying) “Wahh! I want to be adopted like Anna.

“You ARE adopted. Anna is NOT Adopted.”

Teddy: “Are you sure I’m not adopted?”

Challenges!

I hope you all have a good, healthy, and happy New Year.

http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=95083&p=38

A Is For Adoption

A is for Anna, that’s me! What’s you name? When you see the first letter of your name in this book shout it out!  A is also for adoption. I’m adopted, are you? Adopted means your birth parents couldn’t care for you and your parents really, really wanted you so they made you a part of their family, forever.  Some people are adopted when they are babies and some when they are older. Some kids are in foster care first, and some aren’t.  How were you adopted? What’s your story?

B is for birthday.  I have a birthday party every year to celebrate the day I was born.  This year I want a chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles and a HUGE piñata. B is also for birth parents, the man and woman that made you but couldn’t raise you. B is also for brother. I have three. They like to wrestle, look for worms and play baseball.  Sometimes they let me play with them, sometimes they don’t. Do you have any brothers? Do they live with you? Do they look for worms?

C is for cookie.  Everyone knows that!  C is also for caseworker, some people call them adoption workers or social workers.  A caseworker is the person who watches over kids before they are adopted and makes sure they get to the right family.

D is for Daddy. I love my dad. He takes me on bike rides, and buys me ice cream.  I also have a birth dad. I never met mine. Do you have a dad? What do you guys like to do together? Do you know your birth dad?

E is for eternity. Eternity means forever and ever, which is how long I am going to be a part of my family.

F is for Family.  My family has a mom and a dad and three brothers and a sister and two dogs and a turtle and some fish.  My friend Lizzy has two dads, one brother and a cat and Jay has a grandma and that’s it.  All families are different.  What is your family like?

G is for Gecko, which are the only lizards that make noise. They live where is it warm. They have nothing to do with adoption, unless… are you from a warm place? Did they have geckos there? I hope I get one for my birthday. That would be cool!

H is for Happiness.  Happiness is love, fun, friends and families…. oh, and Disney World, of course!

I is for I love you. That’s it.

J is for jumping, juggling and jogging.  J is a fun letter! J is also for Judge. A judge needs to say it is okay for your parents to adopt you. I had to go with my family to a judge when I was a baby. I saw a picture of us all in our dress up clothes.  The judge wore a black robe and was holding this hammer thing called a gavel. Everyone was smiling.  Some kids go to the court when they are older.  Do you remember going to see the judge?

K is for knowledge.  That’s a big word that means to know or learn stuff, like who you are, where you are from, what your adoption story is.

L is for life and learning and love.  My birth mom and birth dad gave me life, so I could breathe and eat and swim and run, so they are really special.  Learning is important because you need to learn about who you are, where you came from, and then there is learning in school like how to read and do math. Love is the best.  I love my mom and my dad and my brothers and sisters and friends and pets and teachers and cousins and grandparents and…whew! That’s a lot of love!

M is for Mom.  I love my mom; she plays with me and likes to read to me.  What do you like to do with your mom? I know there is another person out there who is my birth mom, but I didn’t know her. I am glad she had me though, or I wouldn’t be here! Do you know your birth mom?

N is for Naked mole rats. They are small rodents who live in underground colonies in Africa. They have large teeth that stick out that they use to dig. They have very little hair and have wrinkled pink or yellowish skin. They are really funny looking and have absolutely nothing to do with adoption, unless…are you from Africa? Maybe you have seen one?

O is for open.  Open means you can talk about anything and not be scared or embarrassed to ask questions about adoption.  Your parents might not always know the answer, but they will try to figure it out for you.  Open also means something you forgot to shut, like the refrigerator door and then your mom will yell, “Who left the door open!”

P is for parents.  I have two, a mom and a dad. How about you? Parents get to make the rules like say what you can eat and where you can go, and tell you to do your homework, and stuff like that.

Q is questions. I have a lot! Like who were my birth parents? Why couldn’t they keep me? What did they look like? Where are they now? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? How do fireflies light up like that? Do you have questions?

R is for rainbow.  Rainbows are cool and have so many different colors, just like people.  Some families look like rainbows because there can be all kinds of colors in one family: brown hair, red hair, blue eyes, green eyes, brown skin, tan skin, light skin with freckles.  If you line up your family maybe you can make your own people rainbow.

S is for super, stupendous and special!  I am all those things, super, stupendous and special, oh and my mom says I am silly. S is also for sister. I have one older sister.  She likes to play softball, swim and shop for clothes.  Do you have any sisters?  Mine is awesome, even though she doesn’t like me touching her stuff.

T is for together. Adoption is about being together as a family.

U is for Ultrasaurus which was a huge, long-necked dinosaur.  Their bones have been discovered in both South Korea and the United States.  They don’t really have anything  to do with adoption either, well unless you are maybe from South Korea or the United States. Are you?  Wouldn’t you love to ride on an Ultrasaurus!

V is for valuable.  Valuable means something that is desired or wished for or important.  My parents say all kids are valuable.

W is for wish.  My parents had a wish and it was me! I have a wish, to go to Africa and see a naked mole rat in action.

X is for Xenops, which are birds that live in South America and again have nothing to do with adoption, unless you are from South America, then, I suppose it could have to do with your adoption story.  Are you from South America?

Y is for yes! Yes I am adopted! Yes I love my family! Yes I am valuable! Yes I was wished for! Yes I have questions! Yes I want to see a naked mole rat!

Z is for zillion. I have a zillion more places to go, things to do and questions to ask.  Oh, yes, and I love my family a zillion times through.

Anne Cavanaugh-Sawan, 2012

Santa’s Mom/Santa’s Dad

Merry Christmas to all! December is both such a short and a long month isn’t it? Short for adults who feel the hurried pressure to send the cards, get the perfect gifts, decorate the house, make the cookies, all with a bright smile and a joyful nature (ARGH!) And it is L-O-N-G for kids, who have been patiently waiting and feeling the holiday anticipation building since Halloween, when the stores all began their advertising campaigns.

I am currently in waiting mode myself. I am patiently waiting for the end of the MeeGenuis contest, which is over in about one week so if you haven’t voted yet PLEASE do and you have already, thank you so much.  (Just so you know, I hate these contests too, where you have to beg for people to vote for you, but unfortunately it looks like it is a necessary evil of the trade.) I am also waiting for another story of mine to be printed in Adoption Today Magazine, which should be out shortly, so in the meantime, I thought I would go ahead and post my Christmas story for you to read while you are taking a break from all this craziness.

This story really began a few years back when I was telling (begging) my youngest son, Teddy, to brush his teeth before bed. He was whining and stalling and then said, “I bet Santa’s mom doesn’t tell him to brush his teeth!”  (Can you believe his dad is a dentist!)  I said, “Of course she does, and wash his hands and put down the toilet seat!”  Teddy laughed and then said, “Does Santa even have a mom?” I said, “He must!” And we started going back and forth with the things Santa’s mom might do or say, then we added Santa’s dad. Pretty soon, I thought…I should write this down. So I did. Tweaked it a bit and here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Holidays! 

                                                                                                                         Santa’s Mom

When Santa was little he had a mom just like yours.

A mom that:

Made him a bowl of hot oatmeal on frosty mornings,

Sprinkled it all over with brown sugar,

And always remembered not to add any raisins.

A mom that would say things like:

“Please, stop teasing the reindeer!”

“No more wrestling with the elves.”

And “Happy Holidays! Watch out for that Christmas tree!”

A mom that helped him to put on all his snow gear:

His warm, wooly socks,

Waterproof boots,

Thick snow pants,

Fluffy coat,

Long windy scarf,

Two matching gloves

And one fuzzy hat.

A mom that:

Wasn’t afraid to go super fast down the big sledding hill,

Always making sure to sit right behind him and squeezing him really tightly so he wouldn’t tumble off,

Then laughing like crazy when they ended up rolling around together in the cold snow at the bottom.

A mom that helped him to take off his now:

Soaking socks,

Slippery boots,

Sopping wet snow pants,

Bulky coat,

Knotted up scarf,

One no longer matched glove,

And… “Nicholas Christopher Kringle-Claus, where is your hat?”

A mom that would:

Start a crackling fire to warm him up,

Make two big mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows bobbing on the top,

And put a big bowl of buttery popcorn on the table for them to share.

A mom that would:

Help him to decorate the Christmas tree,

with the red and green balls placed all along the bottom,

The twisted candy canes carefully circling the middle,

And then lift him way up high so he could place the shining star up at the tippy, tippy top.

A mom that would:

Put on his red, wooly feety pajamas,

Help him find his favorite stuffed penguin, his cuddly polar bear and his worn out grey walrus,

And say, “Sweet Noel! Could you please, PLEASE brush your teeth!”

Even Santa had a mom that would:

Read him his favorite book,

Give him a soft kiss goodnight,

And whisper into his ear,

“May all your Christmas dreams come true.

Goodnight my little Santa Claus.”

When Santa was little he had a mom, just like yours.

                                                                       

                                  Santa’s Dad

When Santa was little he had a dad just like yours.

A dad that would:

Make his world famous, top secret, absolutely incredible chocolate chip pancakes on the weekends,

Play holiday hide and seek with him all morning,

And even let him win (sometimes).

A dad that could:

Make the best gingerbread house in the whole North Pole with:

Vanilla frosted walls,

Spicy gumdrops,

Chewy caramels,

Licorice bits,

Spearmint leaves,

Striped gum,

Cinnamon sticks,

Chocolate chunks,

And one fat candy cane chimney on the top.

A dad that would say:

“Sweet Blitzen, could you please stop ringing those jingle bells in the house!”

“Go. Now. And sweep out those reindeer stalls.”

And “Nick-O-laus! Who ate all the candy that was on that gingerbread house?”

A dad that knew how to:

Make a huge snow castle with secret tunnels,

a look out tower,

and not just one, but two hidden hideout rooms.

A dad that would:

Tie little Santa’s ice skates so tightly he couldn’t wiggle his toes,

And always picked him up and dusted him off when he fell down on the ice,

And always picked him up and dusted him off when he fell down on the ice,

And always picked him up and dusted him off when he fell down on the ice.

A dad that showed him how to:

Throw a super duper, fast snowball,

Rock out to Christmas carols on the electric guitar,

And drink a cup of eggnog in just one gulp… with a loud burp at the end!

(But only when Mrs. Claus wasn’t around.)

Even Santa had a dad that would:

Make sure to leave on the hall light,

Tickle his feet,

And whisper into his ear,

“Good night little Nicholas Christopher Kringle-Claus. Don’t let the jingle bugs bite.”

When Santa was little he had a dad just like yours.

Anne Cavanaugh-Sawan, 2011