Hannah and I


I am Hannah’s father and Hannah is my daughter, and that’s the way we like it. When she was five years old I took her to see Santa Claus at a local store. She was so excited; her smile looked like it was trying to escape through her ears.

I buckled her into her car seat, and asked, “Do you know what you are going to ask for from Santa?”

She replied with a simple nod as if to say she had already put a lot of thought into this, which piqued my interest.

“What are you going to ask for?” I inquired ready to hear one of the extravagant fantasies that only a five year old girl can craft.

She bid me to come close, it was clear that this was a matter to be held in confidence. I leaned in and she whispered in my ear, “It’s a secret.”

I smiled and did something that I had done to her since she was a baby, I winked at her. She winked back and smiled, almost giggling.

We drove on to see Santa Claus. She was quiet the whole way there, and every time she would look at me in the mirror she would smile and wink.

We got to Santa, and when it was her turn she sat on Santa’s lap. He had a deep voice that was full of thunderous laughter. Hannah was joyous and talkative, but when it finally came time to answer the question of the day, she just looked at me and sat quiet for a moment. Then she climbed up to Santa’s ear and whispered something.

He began to chuckle, and bid her a merry Christmas. As I walked by to scoop Hannah up Santa whispered something in my ear. “She asked for glasses for you, to cure your wink.”

That Christmas I bought reading glasses for myself and marked them ‘from Santa,’ I think somehow that was Hannah’s favorite gift that year.

(photo courtesy of Rigmanyi/Dreamstime.com)