I love my sweet wife. Life together is mostly a goofy, spontaneous struggle to avoid embarrassing ourselves in all circumstances. Hilary’s latest battle has been with the whits of a 5-year-old. When we received our last package of goodies from the United States, we opened the treasure trove to find a mountain of candy, Nutella, granola bars, and our Christmas present from my parents- a new Canon SX170 IS. This beautiful camera will serve to replace my old Olympus that stroked out under pressure from Guatemala’s unforgiving humidity and I’m assuming a bit of old age. Full of Christmas spirit, Hilary hung candy canes around the living room, thinking of accomplishing nothing more than a bit of festive decoration. However, when Ale’s two girls arrived to see their house adorned with evidence of visitors from the North (North Pole north), they assumed none other than Santa had paid an early visit to drop off a few treats for two girls on the Nice-List.
We played along and decided it would be fun to leave a treat for the girls each night, spreading Christmas joy as the girls would return home from swim practice to enjoy a little early-Christmas cheer once again. Things got complicated when we returned home later than expected on Monday and the girls pulled in the driveway before we could set out their bag of Snickers. Hilary snatched the bag from our room and ran to the living room, ripping at the bag and trying to look nonchalant about the situation. At the same time, Ale’s oldest daughter jumped out of the car screaming about her excitement and bolted for the living room. For me, the entire fiasco unfolded in slow motion before my eyes. The little girl reached the door of the living room and her jaw dropped. The sound of Hilary ripping the bag open had stopped and everything went silent for what seemed like a very long and intense period. Hilary then slowly left the room and headed back to our bedroom, head bowed in shame. The child caught her with her hand in the stocking.
For the rest of the night, Hilary attracted a miserable glare from the little girl. Neither of us knew how to handle the situation. If she got wise, we may have ruined Christmas and the secret of Santa for an adorable Guatemalan child. The following day, Ale told Hilary of the storm that was brewing behind closed doors. At first, the child decided Hilary had been the candy-planter, and the Santa story was a hoax all along. Her mother played dumb. Then, she realized a much more logical and believable explanation- Hilary is a candy thief and had her hand in the stocking to rob the Christmas treats! In response, Hilary wrote a speech to apologize to the child that is undoubtedly terrified of the giant, pale thieves that have invaded her house, but has yet to muster the courage to deliver her apology. In a covert attempt to cover our tracks, we have given all of the remaining pre-Christmas presents to the Grandmother to plant while we’re away. This way, the children have to rule out the possibility that we were Santa all along.
Why will we be away? I’m taking my girl to the beach for a few days. I’m packing two shirts, a swimsuit, a pair of shorts, undies, socks, toiletries, and Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs. Packing light for our Christmas beach vacation. Enjoy your winter, America.