Working my way back to Santa's 'nice' list

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By Shannon Brock

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years ago, a little girl earned her way onto Santa's naughty list.

All she wanted for Christmas that year was a keyboard. She loved to sing and wanted to learn to play the keyboard to round out her musical talent. She put in her request to her mom, dad, aunts, uncles and even Old Saint Nick.

As the days passed by and Christmas morning grew closer, she was bursting at the seams to know if the keyboard would somehow find its way under her tree.

On a pre-Christmas shopping trip with her mother and cousin, she begged and pleaded for every keyboard she passed in each store, but her mother politely turned her down.

Huffing and puffing on the way home in the back seat of the car, this little girl caught a hint in her mother's conversation that some presents — maybe even her presents —were hiding in the trunk.

Her face lit up, her mind started racing and she could barely control her own arms, let alone hear her mother say, "Don't you dare pull that down!"

Before she knew it, one of those arms that was controlling itself had grabbed the armrest in the middle of the seat and pulled it down with all its might revealing the contents of the trunk.

And there it was. The keyboard she'd been praying for.

But that's not where the story ends.

The little girl's excitement lasted only a second as her mother became livid and threatened to return the keyboard to the store from which it came.

The little girl cried and asked her mother to have mercy.

"I'm sorry, mom. I'll never do that again," she pleaded through the tears.

Come Christmas, her mother gave in and let the little girl keep the keyboard … but 15 years later, that little girl still doesn't know how to play it.

Surprise — that little girl was me, and since then, I've learned that Santa has a sense of humor.

He was kind enough to let me keep the keyboard, but for whatever reason, something always kept me from learning how to play.

I share this little story as a warning to all the little girls and boys on this Christmas Eve night. I know how you feel. I know you're about to burst and you don't think you can wait 12, nine or six more hours to find out what your parents are blessing you with this Christmas, but learn from my story. You may find your toy. You may even get to keep it. But you might not be able to use it in all the ways you planned.

For the past 15 years, I've been working my way back onto Santa's nice list. I haven't tried to find my presents even though I've wanted to. It's just not worth the risk.

Each year since that dreadful day, I've had to bottle up my anxiousness and wait like a good little girl to enjoy the surprises on Christmas morning. I encourage you to do the same because it's much easier to fall off Santa's nice list than it is to get back on.

E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.