My dad is Santa Claus

As I contemplated the title of this, I went back and forth. Should it say, “My dad WAS Santa” or “My dad IS Santa.”  I do not like to think of my dad as a “was.” He was a good person. He was a great dad. He was a great husband. In my mind that is so final, as if he is no longer. 

I still say, “My parents house. My mom and dads house.” 

For me, my dad will never be a “was.” He lives inside me. I share his DNA but I feel I share a deep connection to my pops. 

So I titled this, as you can see, “My dad IS Santa Claus.” 

This Christmas season is extremely difficult for those who love my dad. We miss him. I know every ‘firsts’ will be difficult. However, as you can see, my dad IS Santa Claus. All the photos of him in his Santa suit are popping up in everyone’s memories. The smile on his face was real. He was like a little kid at Christmas every year. As a little girl he would yell, “Let’s just open one present.” Much to my mothers dismay. Lewis and I would jump up and down and yell, “Yay! Yay! Yay!” Or some variation of screaming with excitement. All to be dashed by him saying, “No, sorry we need to wait.” Then the giggle. If you know my dad, you know that giggle. Such a trouble maker. As the years went on, he would yell, “LET’S JUST OPEN ONE PRESENT.” My brother and I would roll our eyes and say, “whatever.” 

At my dads memorial service I knew I needed to share. It was the hardest thing I have done but I just knew I needed to tell stories about my dad. 

Here is an excerpt:

“My dad loved his wife, his children and all the other neighborhood kids. He was a father to many. Single moms, broken homes, kids who were on the ‘outskirts’ of society or struggling in their life. My dad was drawn to them. He believed no mother should struggle. No child should go without food. My dad was Santa Claus before he actually played Santa. It makes sense that he physically morphed into him as he got older.

 When we were kids we would go to the tree farm and cut down our tree. Then he would cut down 4 or 5 more and we would deliver trees to families who could not afford one. Many times we saw my dad and mom fill grocery bags full of food, ring a doorbell and run, or leave Christmas gifts on porches for the families who would not have gifts otherwise. My parents were not ‘rich’ but they gave all that they could. This was not just my dads doing. My mom was a part of this.

Dad and my mama 2 Sherrie Hess

My best friend, Krista, shared with me a story. She owns her own company and every year she puts on a massive Christmas party for her staffs children. My dad (her surrogate father) played Santa, of course. She said one year this little boy was so frightened of Santa (aka my dad) that he literally screamed. My dad talked to him, made him laugh, made him comfortable and just loved this little boy right where he was at. At the end of that party this little boy was sitting on my dads lap, smiling, laughing and loving life.  The following year and every year after, this little boy sat on the ground waiting impatiently for his favorite Santa Claus to arrive.  This year they did a different Christmas party, in a different location, because Santa Claus was not here. Heartbroken does not even come close to the enormity of our loss. 

So this year I have not decorated. I do not enjoy seeing Santa’s all over the store. I have never enjoyed Christmas music, so that is an easy one for me. This Christmas is not the same. This Christmas my heart is broken. This Christmas is different. Hopefully next year will be a bit better, who knows. Until then, I have pondered on the things that I am grateful for:

Me, my dad, and Nia Jelleyman

I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for every breath.  I am grateful I have a job.  I am grateful I have money. I am grateful I have food. I am grateful for life and mostly, I am grateful that I have a dad who IS Santa Claus. 


2 thoughts on “My dad is Santa Claus”

  1. He is so very missed! Especially at this time of year..thinking of you and all the family. Bo and I cherish our Larry memories. Love you??

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