Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursdays trip to the North Pole

The trip to the North Pole was awesome. We were dropped off by the airport shuttle at 9:30 in front of the Northwest terminal and were greeted by a friendly elf directing us into the building. More elves were there to guide the way as we got our boarding passes and met up with some of our fellow friends from Motts. The air was festive and the workers and the elves very welcoming. Once we had our boarding passes we weaved our way thru the Westin hotel to their security check-in. They handed a sweatshirt, a bag of goodies and a name tag to Lisa. Extra TSA security was singing Christmas Carol karaoke and there was a lion dancing away trying to get us to join him. Lisa was pretty skeptical of the Lion and wouldn’t go near him. I assured her he was harmless…he was wearing a Detroit Lions jersey for goodness sakes!

Once we made our way thru security we headed towards our gate. You couldn’t miss it. There were signs for the North Pole and red and white candy cane decorations and lots of clowns. The clowns were busy making all kinds of balloon creatures and Lisa and all the other kids were busy collecting as many as they could. Around 10:30, we boarded the plane. All the workers clapped, cheered and greeted each child by name as they stepped onto the plane. Now I understood why it was only one parent per child…there wasn’t enough room for 2 adults per child with all the balloon creatures, gift bags, coats, cameras and personal items!

It took a while to get the plane loaded. Lisa was very patient and looked around wide eyed taking everything in. Once all the passengers, clowns and elves were boarded, we got on our way. The ride was a bit bumpy, but once we “took off” it seemed a bit smoother. Lisa remarked more than once that we weren’t really flying…and that we weren’t very high. I finally asked her why she didn’t think we were flying up high and she just looked at me and said very matter of fact “because the balloons aren’t popping”. Huh? I stopped asking….not sure if she just got lucky with her answer or if somehow she really knew that the pressure in a flying jet would most likely pop her balloons. We were given sandwiches, crackers, and cookies during the flight and made small talk amongst ourselves.

We landed in the North Pole around 12:30. As we got off the plane and went back thru security, we were greeted with big welcomes. We weaved our way to Santa’s room (which looked very much like it could be one of the Westin hotel conference rooms) Once inside Lisa stopped, slowly looked around the room and than asked me what was straight ahead. I looked up and all I could see was the other side of the room where another set of doors were. I told her…just doors, honey. Her head nodded and she said…that’s where Santa is coming in. We put all of our goodies in a corner and got first row seats on the floor to watch the magician. Lisa was mesmerized by the bird that appeared with a shake of a handkerchief. I don’t think she watched any of the other magic, she just watched the bird. About 1/3 of the way into the magic show, the magician stopped and said he’d gotten the signal. All eyes turned and there HE was….Santa and Mrs. Claus had entered the room. The crowd went wild. There was waving and clapping and yelling. Once Santa shouted his hellos, he headed over to his chair with Mrs. Claus. As he got situated, the magician continued his show and kept the kids occupied. Volunteers came around and tapped two children at a time to go and see Santa. It didn’t seem like we were waiting very long before Lisa got picked. She did very well and almost made it all the way to Santa before she froze and grabbed for me. With me by her side she went up to Santa…but refused to sit on his lap. We took a few pictures and then Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas…and, of course, she said “a baby”. He asked her what else she wanted and she said “another baby”. Okay so she knows what she wants. He then proceeded to hand her a GIANT size IKEA bag. As we walked away from Santa, I started to go back to the magician, but Lisa made me stop so we could look at her gifts. There was a huge stuffed dolphin, a Barbie, a game and some other things. Lisa looked up at me and seemed close to tears….what’s wrong I asked her? Where’s my baby? she said. Uhhhhhhhhhh….I explained to her that these were just extra gifts and Santa would bring her a baby when he came to the house….sheesh…you can’t get anything past this kid.

We finished off the day with a few treats. As we were leaving the party, Lisa commented “I guess I was wrong” “What” I questioned? She said “I was wrong, Santa didn’t use that other door”. Man….when has this kid gotten so bright?

We made our trek back thru the hotel and got a ride on the shuttle back to the parking lot. Lisa was pretty tired and complaining that her legs hurt, but overall we were very happy.

Once in our car, we headed to the clinic for our 3:00 blood draw. When we got to the clinic, we were surprised to see Santa sitting in the waiting area. He was dressed incognito in jeans and a sweatshirt, but we knew it was him…he had white hair, long white beard, a bit of a belly, glasses perched on his nose and was sitting there “reading” a book. Lisa was a bit moody when we got there and I pointed him out. She quieted down. We kept taking peeks of him as Lisa got more sociable. We were laughing and giggling when suddenly Santa, stood up, grabbed his coat, winked at us and walked out the door. He’d never even been called into the lab! Wow…I told Lisa, they aren’t kidding when they say he’s watching!

The older kids were thrilled to hear Lisa had a good time and even more thrilled that they got a little present from Santa. Interestingly enough they all received letters with their gift that described very accurately their behavior this last year…..hmmm….it’s as if Santa had actually been in our house watching or perhaps some parent is in pretty tight with the old man!

So, the trip to the North Pole was a success and has put us in the mood for the holidays...if we can just get the tree up, presents bought and the stockings hung by the chimney with care, we might actually be able to have Christmas this year!


Anonymous said...

That sounds so cool and so much fun so happy Lisa had fun sounds like she is a smart cookie. My daughter who is 10 now questions Santa and I guess i did not help when she saw a present wrapped to her from santa and asked why it was here already lol. Quick thinkin I said santa some times drops then off early because he has so many to deliver don't think she bought it. Thanks fro sharing Lisa day. My thoughts and prayers are with you always...Love, Kristen

Anonymous said...

VERY COOL! I am glad she had such a good time. It sounds like a very festive event. It sounds like a great way to bring in the holiday season that MUST include lots of babies with no hair and lots of clothes. Did I get it right? oh and lots of suckers for sucker soup! while watching the curly top movie!

Lisa G.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How special she is to have gotten to go to the North Pole, I would have loved to go!! Glad you finally had some fun. Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Sarah Rumptz

Diane Ebeling said...

How Awesome!! They showed your adventure on the news and Juli watched very carefully for Lisa, and was disappointed not to see her! We were at the Pediatric Hem/Onc clinic at U of M on Thursday at 3:00 for Juli's appt with a coag doctor - Juli was talking to the nurse about Lisa while see was taking her vitals. (She babbles when she is nervous) It was funny! Don't worry about Christmas - it'll come together - I'm finding that out myself!


Anonymous said...

That is the best holiday story of the season. Thanks so much for sharing.

Pam Dear

Jeanette said...

I enjoyed this story so much, I felt like I got to be there for a minute! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. It sounds like a wonderful day.