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Years of Santa’s Workshop

All the time a person is a child he is both a child and learning to be a parent. After he becomes a parent he becomes predominantly a parent reliving childhood.  ~Benjamin Spock

Kyle Piper with Christmas bows - Aunt Heather Piper
I put bows on Kyle's head... notice my sister didn't interject.

About five years ago Kyle wanted me to “Be a parent that goes on field trips with his class”.  So I looked into it and found out that I had to be a PTA member.  I also had to fill out specific forms and send them in to the state, allowing me to work with children.  Before I moved forward, I asked Kyle if he really wanted me involved in his school activities.  His response, “Ya, Aunt Heather, then you could go with me on trips.”  I said ‘ok’ and so I proceeded to fill out the paperwork to join the PTA.  At that time, I received a checklist of activities planned out for the year.  Unfortunately, because I work full-time during the week, I was not able to help out at the day activities such as homeroom mom or the parties.  But I was able to help judge creative work submitted for the Reflections entries and my favorite, Santa’s Workshop.

Every year since I became the only non-parent PTA member I have worked the Santa’s Workshop, taking a half-day off of work.  I must say, I actually look forward to it every year.  At first, I never told Kyle that I would be at his school, it was a surprise.  The first year I participated, Kyle was lined up in the hallway with the other kids when he spotted me.  I was more excited over his reaction.  In fact, I still remember it as plain as day.  He jumped out of line, started waving his hands and yelling “Hey, Aunt Heather, Aunt Heather!” with a low yell as to not get in trouble, wearing the biggest smile imaginable.  I LOVED it!  And you know what, over the years I’ve always gotten the same reaction.  Although I think, this year, his excitement was more about the extra moola to spend, knowing I would give him additional money, than actually shopping with me.  But it still doesn’t change the fact that I like to be a part of Kyle’s life and I like helping out when I can, even though I think this year was the first time he remembered that I work the Santa’s Workshop.

Kyle is still talking to Santa -2004 Aunt Heather Piper
Kyle is still rattling off his Christmas list. 2004

A couple of years ago, Kyle was surprised to see me at the workshop and he asked me, “Aunt Heather, what are you doing here?”  I said, “I always come and help out, I like shopping with you.”  That was followed by, “I don’t remember that.”  Meanwhile, I believed I had already worked about three years in a row.  This year my mom asked Kyle, “Where you surprised to see your Aunt Heather?”  He responded with confidence, “No, Aunt Heather works the Secret Santa every year.”  What a stinker!!  And yes that’s what Kyle always calls it, the Secret Santa.  I believe he remembered I was going to work it.  The weekend before, Kyle reminded me several times that the ‘Secret Santa’ was on Wednesday, but he couldn’t remember the time.  He even had an email sent to me two days before confirming the day and time.  He had all his bases covered.

As I stood there this year and talked to the other parents (which, incidentally, they call me Aunt Heather – LOVE that!) I noted that I only have one more year of Santa’s Workshop.  I must say I was kind of bummed.  But Kyle is growing up and I have no choice but go with the flow.

I always did believe that it’s the little things that make the difference even though, for the longest time, I didn’t think Kyle even realized that I was a PTA member and I worked the Santa’s Workshop.  But then again, it’s not about racking up the points or keeping score.  It’s about doing what’s right for the child.  And what was right was showing him how important he is to me to take time off of work, support him at his school, and spend time with him. Although, I will admit, I am being a bit selfish, it really makes me happy to help out too.  I also like getting to know the other parents and most of all spending time with Kyle and watching his excitement over buying gifts for the family.  Definitely a day well spent!!

Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyMilestoneObservation & ImaginationReminiscing

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