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December 15, 2011 - Jennifer Brookens
I have found myself being extra cautious this Christmas, because of my little eight-year-old asking more questions that indicate she might be onto the Santa gig.

"Why does Santa have the same writing as Mom and Dad? And why does he use the same wrapping paper as us?" HELL-O! We gotta help the guy out, he's in a hurry!! But she's still a junior skeptic. Thank goodness for the feel-good Christmas movies, like the Polar Express, that show the power of Believing.

I feel for the girl - wanting to believe in the possibility, yet reality indicates the odds are against it. Heaven knows I dated enough losers in high school and college to fit that bill!

So what's a parent to do? Do I insist without waver, "Believe or Else!!" No, dictating thoughts is not my style.

Show through example on how we just need to take a leap of faith every now and then? Well, how else could I have gotten through life so far? I took a chance on some guy from the college radio station some 15 years ago who seemed kind of pompous, but made the effort to ask me out on a date. That man is now my husband and the father of my daughter and son. Shortly after we got married, we took a chance on this little town called Fairmont, Minnesota. It would be a stepping stone to the major markets, we'd be around for maybe a year, two years tops. That was 14 years ago.

Every day we're taking little leaps of faith, whether we realize it or not: every time we drive, we believe we'll make it there without a wreck, and most often we do. And these days, there are a lot of times I wonder how we're going to make it to the end of the month when the bank account runs low, but we somehow manage to make it through. Without a little faith, I would've thrown in the towel ages ago by dropping out of society and becoming a beach bum (although some days, that's still tempting). But I have to believe that it gets better for it to inspire me to take those steps to making it better.

So for my daughter, this is my answer: sometimes you just need to listen to what your heart says, and don't be afraid to believe in the impossible. That is why I still buy lottery tickets when the jackpot goes up, and that is why there will be a plate of cookies setting out for Santa on Christmas Eve. (And no fair looking for crumbs on Mommy's sweatshirt - you know sweets are my weakness!)


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