It was Christmas Eve, the sun had set and my grandchildren were opening gifts. Katie, my stepdaughter, whispered to me that Hunter, her first grader, had been questioning the validity of Santa Claus.  I was sad to hear the news. A short time later my son-in-law, Steve, decided to check out if the lake in front of our house was completely frozen. He asked Hunter to tag along, which, of course, he enthusiastically agreed.

What they didn’t know was that earlier in the day my son, Theodore who was visiting from California, had been fooling around on the dock and had decided to walk on the lake and test out if it was frozen.  It had snowed part of the day so Theodore’s little experiment had left fresh footprints in the snow on the surface of the lake.
When Steve and Hunter arrived at the end of the dock Hunter saw the footprints and screamed, “Santa was here – look at the footprints and the sled marks! It’s unbelievable, Santa was here.”

Steve not knowing quite what to say, said nothing, thank goodness. He played along with Hunter’s excitement and they both came running back into the house looking for a cell phone so they could take photos of Santa’s tracks and show them to us. Once they retrieved copies of the photos from the printer Hunter began running and jumping around showing everyone Santa’s footprints, while at the same time pointing his finger toward the huge window that overlooks the lake. Miraculously, at that very moment an airplane with flashing lights was flying over the lake preparing to land at Toledo Express.

Hunter became completely overwhelmed with joy, “It’s Santa it’s Santa – look, he’s headed this way. It’s unbelievable – I need to go home and put out cookies and milk. Come on mom we need to leave now! This is unbelievable.”

The gift from this story? Hunter will believe in Santa one more year. How wonderful! The moral of the story?  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise about the validity of your beliefs or your dreams.

Because of Hunter’s rediscovery of the magic of Santa Claus and how “unbelievable” it was for him, I have chosen UNBELIEVABLE as my One Word for 2017!