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A Magical Encounter: Meeting Santa

We told the kids that we will be meeting Santa Claus that morning and they were, as you would expect, very excited and happy. Charlotte kept chanting, "Meeting Santa!" and Daniel, "Santa! Santa!"
It was a normal Sunday morning at home. We woke up, had breakfast and the kids settled in a contented state of play alongside each other. The weather got rather humid as the minutes ticked on so as 8am, I announced that I will be heading into the shower. You see, telling kids what you are doing next has its pros and cons - them knowing so that they don't freak out when you don't respond immediately when they call out for you AND the flip side is, they want to be included in what you do. The latter was what they chose.
The kids and I jumped into the shower together and had a royally great time. Them mimicking my actions with enthusiasm and the jets from the shower head simulated rain so we sang "Rain, rain go away..." while daddy continued his yard work in peace and quiet aka caveman mode.
All three of us got dressed and this year, the kids chose my outfit. I couldn't turn them down and we all waited for daddy to get ready. By 8:30am, we were all strapped in the car and headed for the big mall (thankfully, very close to home).
Here we are waiting in line with other families to have our annual photo with Santa Claus. The single strollers are great for strapping them in from the multi-storey car park into the air-conditioned comfort of the mall. Then they were free to roam and next thing we know, Santa Claus walked down the flight of stairs and Charlotte & Daniel were the first children to meet and greet Santa Claus. Very special.
He is by far, the nicest Santa Claus I have come across in the three years of getting photos done. While all of us waited in the queue, he walked up to each family and spoke to both the young & the old while the photographers were setting up their lights and camera for the day. That's the benefit of being there before they start - we all got one on one special time with him!
While waiting for our turn, the kids and their daddy walked around, did colouring in and they took turns running back to me while I stood rooted to the ground with the single strollers ensuring that we do not lose our coveted spots.
We were seen within 15 minutes, the staff tried every trick in the book to make our children laugh but to no avail. As you can expect, many photos were taken as a consequence and we chose this one:
Excuse the quality. Taken using iPad and under very bad lighting.
Only the parents were looking in the camera but the kids' display of unbridled delight & joy on their faces won us over. It perfectly captured their cheekiness and happiness. That's what childhood is all about. An uncomplicated life with loads of fun!
We walked around the shops a little more and had a delightful brief car ride home for lunch followed by a super duper long afternoon nap! *bliss*
It's 10 more days to Christmas!