This still makes me giggle. The shrieks of animated urgency bounced around the high walls and timber floors of our turn of the century renovators delight, as his two big brothers thumped down the hallway, beckoning me to come quickly. Josh, just shy of his first birthday, had done something remarkable and climbed into the ‘Santa thing’.
Given the shenanigans of our three boys under four household, the realisation that they had up until that point been curiously quiet, made me immediately nervous. It had proven to be a risky business, taking a minute for a sneaky break from the constancy of motherhood.
So up the hall we went, the three of us. One (who shall remain unnamed) blissfully unaware of the need for clothing, and decidedly unimpressed with the occasional expectation that he should cover up. Gumboots were passable if the terrain was extreme, but Unnamed middle child had a screaming aversion to clothing.
It was December and we had just finished decorating the tree, which stood to the right of the ‘Santa thing’, adorned with home made paper chain and cookie cutter decorations (at least two with the obligatory bite-shaped edges missing). My little naked cherub had turned three the day before, a celebration on many levels for our family.
There were more than a few occasions where we were made very aware of the vulnerability of life with him. Two years earlier he had lay lifeless in my arms as a team of doctors worked to stabilise his little fever ravaged body, fighting valiantly with every last fibre to overcome the newest wave of meningitis related side effects. The challenges just kept on coming, like being in a Donkey Kong video game dodging coconuts which were hurled from impossible angles, with escalating fury and pace. It was brutal as a mama when all I could do was hold him close and rock, silently reminding him that we would be dodging the missiles together.
So, you see, we were happy to forgive the nakedness. We delighted the small victories, and on the days when something funny happened boy did we celebrate. When I entered the room with naked boy and his clothed bro, fully expecting a calamity and wondering what on earth the ’Santa thing’ could be, I laughed. We all laughed. I crawled into the hearth and sat with my three little boys at the bottom of Santa’s chimney and thanked the universe for moments like these.