We got there right at 10am, waiting in the front of the line for The Big Man's arrival. When he made his grand entrance and sat in his green velvet armchair and I heard the little ones all around me squeal I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed. Joe nudged me and laughed, but there was something undeniably moving to me about starting a new tradition with my daughter, one that has always brought me and my family so much joy. I still remember Dad telling us stories while we wound our way through the maze of fake snow, elves, and the like (one of the best was about a reindeer named Elmer who had something to do with creating the famous glue...), watching the videos of ourselves when we got home, the certainty that somehow the Santa at the Augusta Mall was, if not the real thing, close enough to make sure all of our Christmas morning wishes would come true. Laine was squirmy and excited as we moved toward The Man Himself and I allowed myself high hopes for the world's most adorable Christmas card, the first in a long line of happy mall-Santa memories.
Well. There's always next year.