My In-Laws live in a very unique community, one of those old school places where the neighbors all know each other and people still wave as they pass one another on the street. As long as I've been around there's been a local realty agent who's strapped a sled to a trailer and towed around the neighborhoods dressed up as Santa behind their SUV. It's become a tradition, and each year you wait for the Christmas music blaring over the PA of the white Chevy Tahoe to turn down your street so you can see Santa. Well my Sister-In-Law was perched in her upstairs room and kept running down yesterday with the news that she heard and/or saw Santa on a nearby street. The girls would work into a frenzy, but each time the man in red turned in the opposite direction, making his way around our street. Finally the girls needed to nap and there was no sign of reindeer in the nearby vicinity. A few hours later Arianna came out from hibernation and she and I went for a little walk while her sister knocked out a few more, well needed "z's". About half way up the street, one of the other streets that t-bones into ours, echoed of carols. "SANTA, Daddy, SAAANNTTAAA" Arianna screamed. Before we knew it he had pulled his slay alongside the curb in front of us. I frantically texed Gina knowing that if we went back and woke Genevieve we'd miss our opportunity. I was hoping she was up and Gina could rush her out in time. He invited Arianna on board but, like every parent hopes, even Santa couldn't entice her to get into a strange car/sleigh. She asked me if I would go with her so we both boarded but, I told her, I was too big to fit on Santa's side of the sleigh so she would need to sit next to him. She was shy and didn't want to talk until he asked her what she wanted for Christmas. After that you'd have thought the two were old friends. She wanted a real castle for her dolls to play in, a new dress for Ariel (doll) and a soccer game so her princess could play soccer, which had Santa and I both looking at each other in confusion on how to pull that gift off. But it was a perfect moment, a moment in her childhood that I'm going to carry with me forever. That moment of innocence where a man in a red velvet suit, in the Southern California sun, with a horribly fake beard, being towed by an SUV with AYSO stickers on the back, can be overlooked for the sheer joy of magic. Because that's what it is. Believing in something, anything, that projects nothing but goodness in what has long been a rough world. Santa, like Jesus or Buddha or Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, carries this image that some of us can be nothing but good. Unflawed. Perfect. As a parent I see my child look at that image with hope for the world around them. That maybe everyone can be like Santa. Of course, she I'm certain she just looks at it as "this fat guys gonna bring me free stuff for eating all my veggies and not throwing a tantrum, right?" It is what is. Oh, and shortly after we returned home Genevieve woke up and we spent the next 20 minutes roaming the block hoping we could find him again. A well timed helicopter flew overhead to which I convinced them that it was Santa returning to the North Pole to start building their Christmas order. Arianna asked me to build a helicopter so we could follow them. I'm afraid my children think to highly of my qualifications in life. Just sayin'.