I wanted to share with you my pitiful clay Rudolph. I'm going to start at the end and work my way back. When I went home to visit my family in June, my Mom came into the kitchen with a little cardboard box full of paper towels and after reaching inside, handed me this guy:
I hadn't forgotten about him. Not at all. I'd just lost track of him and was amazed to see that he was still among us. I remembered it like it was yesterday - the day that I made this as a little kid. I was in grade school and wanted to make Santa an extra special gift to leave with the cookies and milk. I'm not sure if I was being extra nice because I was gunning for something special or if I was just a kid who loved Santa - probably both!
So, I got out my Play-Doh and made a tiny little version of Rudolph. See that pink nose? It used to be red. And those smooshy things on top of his head? You guessed it, antlers! On Christmas Eve, I left this little guy out for Santa and the next morning, just like I figured...he was gone! I remember imagining how tickled Santa must have been to get a bonus gift from my house. I figured he circled my name on his list for next year and made a note: "Kitten, Barbie Dream House AND speed skates". In like Flynn! Those other kids all over the world with their simple-minded cookies and milk - what fools!
Fast forward to many months later - or gosh, it could have been a couple of years - but I was still a kid. My parents had left the house on an errand and just like my brother and I would do, we played private investigators. Okay, that's just my way of saying that we rambled through my parents' dresser drawers. Yes, we were horrible. No wonder I thought I should bribe Santa with reindeer replicas! I probably should have slipped him a twenty as well. Anyway, when I was investigating in my Mom's bottom dresser drawer, I came across this box. Inside, there was a huge wad of paper towels wrapped around something. My mind raced: "It has to be something good! Bottom drawer! My Mom wasted paper towels! She hates it when we waste paper towels!" I looked around to make sure that my brother was rambling in his own territory and that I wouldn't have to share whatever this wondrous find would be. Why, it could be chocolate bars...or his adoption papers...who knew?
I slowly unwrapped the secret center as the paper towels unraveled to reveal....my Rudolph! I sat back down on the floor and stared at it. Probably not even breathing with my Hubba Bubba hanging out of my mouth. It was like I'd just seen a ghost. What was Rudolph doing at MY HOUSE?! I immediately knew....yes, I knew. Oh no, not what you're thinking. You're thinking that being the bright kid that I was, I'd figured out the truth about Santa Claus, right? Oh no...I immediately knew that my Mom was a petty thief! She had coveted my reindeer so much that she stole it right out from under Santa's nose! Holy wow!
At first, I felt disappointment - that my Mom was a thief AND that Santa didn't get my amazing gift. Then after a moment, the wheels started turning (or maybe my mind went into self-preservation mode) and I felt the biggest sense of pride because I realized that my Mom only stole the Rudolph from Santa's cookie plate because it was SO FREAKING AWESOME! I was a real artist. Yes, sir. My brother may have been the one taking the fancy art classes but my Mom was defying the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" commandment just to own MY art....and we were Southern Baptists!
Making a mental note to pray for her salvation later, I quickly wrapped Rudolph back up in his paper towel shroud and tucked him back into the bottom drawer, sneaked out of my parents' bedroom and walked away with a big smile. I knew my Mom's secret AND I knew...just KNEW that with my amazing artistic skills, I was going to be somebody someday. I'd impressed my Mom and Moms...well, they've seen it all!
Now fast-forward back to my Mom's kitchen. In a way (and I am going to get syrupy), I was right because even over thirty years later, my Mom still had that little crumpled reindeer. I doubt we would be able to say that for Santa.
Until next time (did you know that thirty year old Play-Doh still smells the same as day old Play-Doh?)..
x's and o's,