I wrapped everything up quickly at work today. I parked and jumped on a train going downtown. By the time I sat down on the train, I had twenty minutes to get there. We crossed the river, and I admired the sun breaking through the ever-present Pacific Northwest clouds. We really do live in a beautiful city.
Old Town Chinatown stop. Skidmore fountain stop. Heading into the heart of downtown now. I see the Portland Rescue Mission. I see the Saturday Market, now open all week for last-minute shoppers. I feel my heart beating as we approach Pioneer Courthouse Square. I step off the train, a little unsure about where to go. I'd been given directions but questioned them a little as a I stand there and look for Macy's.
I walk back one block, just like I was instructed, and then I see Macy's. I cross the street. It's busy here, with all kinds of people walking around three days before Christmas. I hear the bells ringing. That was my first sign that I was going the right way. The bells get louder and louder as I make my way among the crowd.
I hear someone say to a child, "Did you meet Santa in there?"
Then, like the sun breaking through those clouds over the river, I get my Christmas present. I see the bell ringers in front of Macy's. The smallest one, dressed in jeans, green cowboy boots, and a "I am a bell ringer" apron, is yelling and running in my direction, bell swinging wildly. This is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life, and my heart swells in joy.
"Mom! Mom! It's Mom!"
Through crowds of people, my "celebrity bellringer*" makes his way to me, running full steam ahead and grabs my legs so tight I can hardly pick him up. People around us stop to look. They are smiling. I'm hearing the Charlie Brown Christmas song in my head as I hug the bellringer.
Christmas time is here,
happiness and cheer,
fun for all
that children call
their favorite time of year.
I feel like the luckiest person in Portland, to be the one this little boy gets so excited about seeing, the one whose face he sees in a crowd and calls "Mom!" so loudly that people stop to look. Then they smile. Because they know I'm lucky. They know.
This moment was all I needed for Christmas.
*The Salvation Army issued Ted his first "welcome to the small pond" invitation to be a "celebrity bellringer" for them downtown. He rang the bell along with a few Portland "celebrities," including Catherine Grimme, the young Bella Swan in the Twilight movie and Amy Roloff from Little People, Big World.