Six days before my 5-year-old would come home from trick-or-treating with a bagful of candy for me to sanitize, he asked my husband a question many children likely have wondered.
"Do you think we're going to have Christmas this year?" he asked.
The inquiry – relayed to me by text as I worked my Sunday shift for The Journal Gazette – tugged at my heart.
And then my phone chimed with my son's follow-up question: "What if Santa can't come?"
I know, I know. There are much bigger worries in the world today. I regularly report on and read coronavirus updates. My sister, who works in public health in New York City, inundates me and my parents with health headlines and stats. I get it.
But there's just something different about hearing a kindergartner worry that even Santa Claus doesn't have enough magic to overcome the virus that has turned life upside down.
So, on Oct. 25 – six days before Halloween and two months before Christmas – I realized the value of those toy catalogues sitting lying on a kitchen countertop.
Now comfortable using a pencil thanks to his teacher, my son has circled numerous items he would like to find under the Christmas tree. He even circled some for his 1-year-old brother.
I've got to make sure Santa and his elves get the message.