Over the summer, I've been working on cleaning out and organizing the drawers and closets in my condo. I've only lived in this place for 8 years, but anyone looking at the closets and drawers would think it had been at least 25. I've actually enjoyed the project, as I've come upon things I had totally forgotten about, and I also smile every time I open a closet and see how organized it is.
One of the things I found that made me smile was this picture from 1972. My sister and I dressed in our matching outfit best, and went to see Santa. I was 4 here, and my sister was 8. She was a bit old to be doing this, but I know she did it because I didn't want to go by myself.
This picture brings back great memories for me, as I loved everything about Christmas when I was a kid.
We went to see Santa at a great old department store called Shillito's. To me, visiting the downtown store was almost like going to an amusement park, especially at Christmas time. Shillito's had amazing Christmas window displays, and I loved them. I would stand in front of them and stare, completely mesmerized, like Ralphie and his friends in A Christmas Story. (One of my all-time favorite movies, by the way. My family and I never tire of quoting it.)
Shillito's also had the best Santa displays. It wasn't just about seeing Santa, as you had to walk through an enchanting Christmas display that snaked around one whole floor of the store just to get to him. One year it was the North Pole, another it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I can still remember the smell of the chocolate as my mom and I walked through the display on our way to see Santa Claus.
With the massive heatwave gripping so much of the country, I really enjoyed taking a trip back in time to this winter tradition.
It was also fun to see a picture of my 4 year old self. I couldn't help but think, if I could go back and talk to this little girl, what would I tell her, knowing what I do now?
The first thing that came to mind was that I would tell her to go easy on the student loans when she gets to college! I kid, but there's no question I've made some unwise financial decisions in my life. But of course, hindsight is 20/20.
I think mostly I would tell this little girl not to be so afraid to try things as she gets older. And not to worry so much about what other people think.
But at the same time, I think, I wouldn't tell her anything. Whatever choices I made or whatever fears I had, they are all part of the person I am today. And accepting myself, warts and all, is something I've finally learned to do.
What about you? If you could talk to your childhood self, what would you say? And if you are dealing with the heat where you live, I hope this little trip to Christmas past gave you some relief, if only in your mind.