The other day, as Son and Daughter and I were at the subway station, waiting for a train, Daugher told me that it was true, there was actually a place called Korvatunturi (Ear Mountain) in Finland.
“Did you know that?” she asked me.
I told her I did.
She didn’t say it, but something else was implied in her question and remark. The fact that if the grown-ups kept telling her that Santa Claus lives at Korvatunturi in Finland – and at least one grown-up in her life does – and if there is such a place for real, then there must be something to this Santa business.
I told this story to Wife this morning, as the two of us were on the train. I just wanted to tell her how cute our kids are (she knows), and also, how quickly things become tradition. After all, a Finnish radio host came up with the story of Korvatunturi, with its pointy peaks tat could hear kids everywhere, as Santa’s home in the late 1920s. By the time I was sending letters to Korvatunturi, Finland, adresssed to Santa, it was an established fact.
“Hey, you think the kids should write to Santa this year?” I asked Wife.
Well,” she said, “that’s your thing.”
And then she voiced her concern about my obsession with and promotion of Santa Claus, a bearded fellow living in Finland.
“I just don’t want Son to parade around the schoolyard with signs that say ‘Santa is real’,” she said, and added after a pause:
“Like last year.”
After all, the kids are no babies anymore — and more importantly, neither am I.
Today is my birthday, and while I like the idea of the whole December 8 being my day, and somehow I think of it as mine alone, I don’t look forward to it as much as before. I’m more in the Seinfeldian school of thought now, in which a birthday is just proof of the fact that you survived another year.
However, ever since I went freelance, I have always taken Dec 8 off. No work on my birthday. Instead, I use it as a day of reflection, when I make plans for the future, and dream.
Which is why I’m typing this at a coffeeshop in Stockholm’s Old Town.
The coffeeshop has gone through a few changes with ownership, and at least two full renovations, but to me this will always be the getaway place for Wife and me back when we were dating in secret, not really knowing if we were dating or not.
I’ve had several days of reflection since then, and made many plans, and had numerous dreams.
When I was sitting here with Wife those first times, the there wasn’t a Hurry Curry Indian restaurant across the street, but the Science Fiction Bookstore was where it is now.
I was an editor at a custom publishing house, not a hockey writer. I wasn’t even dreaming about writing books. I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost weight. Right now, I’m wearing a suit jacket I owned back then, but I’m also wearing new shoes I bought in Houston in August.
Then I was single, and turned on the TV as soon as I woke up, this morning I woke up to Son, Daughter, and Wife singing to me, and flooding the bed with presents.
Things change, but not everything changes.
As for reflections, it’s been a good day, I do have new plans now, new dreams, new pursuits. I’m not going to tell you what they are because it doesn’t matter what they are, what matters is that I have them.
Fine, I’ll let you in on one of them. Tonight, when I get home, I’ll ask Son and Daughter to write a letter to Santa, and then we’ll put them on the kitchen radiator because that’s where the elves will find them because that’s where they found them in a small Helsinki apartment when I was a kid. That is an established fact.
And we’ll wait for them to disppear by the morning light.
After all, who doesn’t need want a little magic in their lives?