The Racetrack

When I was about seven years old, and my sister was four, she asked Santa for a racetrack for Christmas.  She had talked about it for months.  My sister was a bit of a tom-boy when we were little, although she didn’t care for getting dirty, or sports, she went through a phase when she only wanted “boy toys.”

Racetracks, cars, trains, she was somewhat obsessed.

I was never that kid.  I didn’t like to be dirty.  I hated being outside.  I hated bugs.  I could spend hours playing with dolls, Barbies, playing dress up, and reading my little eyes out of their sockets.

This Christmas when I was seven, I had heard many of the kids at school saying that Santa wasn’t real.  When asked my Mom always responded to our Santa inquires by saying, “As long as you believe in Santa, Santa is real.  If you stop believing, he stops coming.”  I still believe.  I want Santa to fill my stocking.  It’s seriously my favorite “gift” part of Christmas.

So that year, I was in the second grade, and although I really wanted to trust my Mom and her “believing in Santa” line, I just wanted to see for myself.  I was determined to stay awake, and catch Santa in the act.

I read by the light of my flashlight for as long as I could.  I would get up and go to the bathroom, I would pinch myself to stay awake.  Then I accidentally fell asleep.

When I woke up, I decided to sneak downstairs to see if I could bust the red-suited man in the act.  I figured it had to be the middle of the night, and everyone had to be sleeping.

I snuck downstairs.  I must have been really quite, because no one heard me.  There were lights on in the living room, so I thought for sure I was really going to catch him in the act.

I slowly slid down the last few stairs on my butt, I crawled through the hallway, and peaked my head into the living room. 

Where I saw my Dad playing with a racetrack, and my Mom sitting on the sofa. 

I must have made a noise, because my Mom jumped from the couch so fast, and was so frantic in getting me back upstairs to bed. 

“Who was that racetrack for Mommy?”

“Your Dad was just making sure it worked, Nana is giving that to your sister, don’t say anything, or you’ll ruin the surprise.  Now go to sleep, Kelly. (Just as a side note, I can hear this phrase in Samuel Jackson’s voice now, as in the “Go the fuck to sleep.”)  Now.  Santa can’t come if you are awake, it’s part of the magic.”

Now, thirty-one years later, I know that I totally had my parents scrambling.  They always set out the main present we had asked Santa for unwrapped, beside our pile of Santa presents.  The racetrack was what my sister had asked Santa for, I honestly don’t even remember what ended up being her big Santa gift.

I can only guess that they made a late night run to my Nana’s house to exchange the racetrack for something that she had bought for my sister instead.  The next day, my sister opened the racetrack from my Nana, in it’s slightly mangled box.

She loved it.


One Comment on “The Racetrack”

  1. Jen says:

    Oh, that’s a hoot. Your poor parents had to do the latenight switcheroo, didn’t they?

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