The “What To My Wondering Eyes” episode of Parenthood sent me into a flashback.
Parenthood was on the mark at the start of this episode with Julia in utter shock when her son declared that Santa is just a fat guy in a suit at the mall. This declaration then left Victor’s sister, Sydney, confused. Victor was recently adopted, and he comes from an underprivileged background. Julia’s family, that Victor recently joined, is at least upper middle class, if not upper class.
If we think about the context from which Victor comes from, his belief regarding Santa makes sense. I grew up poor, and my mother decided to go with the concept that Santa existed.
For a poor kid, this is not the way to go. You start hoping upon hope that Santa will answer your prayers. You shift your prayers from Jesus to Santa because Santa appears to be the option most likely to be fruitful at the moment, given the fact that it’s the holiday season.
Your mother tries to convince you that your Christmas list should only contain a coat and boots.
No, you maintain that this is SANTA we are talking about. Santa KNOWS. Santa will make things right. So, you go all out. You ask for your Dad come back home, make him better, make him stop drinking, make him like he was. You also want Santa to make your Mom stop crying and yelling all the time. It makes you cry too, and it makes you feel scared and lonely. There’s no one there to hug you and make you feel better.
If Santa were to tell you to put a *star* next to the most important thing on your wish list, in case he’s very busy with other kids, and can only do one thing for you, you put the star next to the fact that you want a grown up to *hug* you when you are scared.
At the bottom of the list you ask for the water squirter that hooks up to the garden hose, and allows you to run through and get wet with sprinkles of water on a hot day. You dutifully saved 100 pennies for this, but your mother told you that was nowhere near enough for that. It turns out you need something like 2000 pennies.
You send your list to Santa, and you are sure that you’ve been good enough for what you are asking. Plus, you know your gifts don’t cost a lot of money, so you are sure you will get at least one of them. You can still keep saving pennies for the sprinkler if Santa is very busy.
Then you find out that Santa is coming to the day care center for the poor kids, the one you go to when your mother goes to work. This confuses you because Santa is visiting before Christmas Day, but you think about it, and you decide that this makes sense because Santa wants to make sure to get to the poor kids … and because of this he is making a personal appearance.
Santa come in with a full sack over his shoulder. When you see this you wonder if you are getting a sprinkler and a hug. You can hardly wait. Santa goes to the front of the room, and says, “Ho, Ho, Ho, kids!” He then gives all of you a stocking that is full of hard candy. He doesn’t know your name. He doesn’t know anyone’s name. You can’t eat the candy because too much sugar makes your stomach hurt. Everyone gets the same stocking of hard candy. You feel bad that you are mad at Santa. You must have done something bad because you did not get one thing on your list, not even the hug.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)