I mentioned in a post yesterday that Santa Claus is coming to Rockford in December to have breakfast at Nicholas Conservatory with his many admirers. As someone who grew up in this area, the highlight for me as a kid was our annual pilgrimage to Colonial Village Mall to meet up with Santa at Weise's

Even if your parents didn't get you to the Weise's Santa breakfast, you knew that there were plenty of opportunities to see St. Nick when Colonial Village set up his sleigh over their fountain area in the midst of the mall. Sure the lines were long sometimes, but it was always worth the wait to me (I tend to think my parents felt differently, but sampling 30-40 different types of cheese and sausage at Swiss Colony while they were waiting did take some of the edge off of them).

So, when Amy and I became parents, we just couldn't wait to take our son Spencer to Colonial Village to meet Santa, just like our folks did with us. We were really looking forward to his delight at sitting in Santa's lap for the first time, and the wonderful photos we were going to get. He was going to love it...or so we thought.

I had never seen a kid burst into tears so fast. Or scream more loudly. Or grip a mother more tightly. You would have thought we were staking him to an ant-hill. But then, Santa himself saved the day by suggesting that Amy sit on Santa's lap with Spencer in her lap. Amy was agreeable, but more importantly, the kid was agreeable. As for Santa...I'm pretty sure he would have enjoyed it even more if Amy had left us at home and come in by herself. I do recall her haul of presents was larger than usual that year...and The North Pole kept showing up on our caller ID.

If you've gone through the same thing, or even better, put your parents through the same thing, you'll appreciate the fact that you're far from being alone: