"Mom, how've I've been doing lately?" Sky asked from the back seat one November evening as we drove to Cub Scouts.
"What do you mean?" I replied, impressed that he seemed to be taking a global perspective on his progress as we continue to try new interventions.
"Am I doing better than last year?"
"Sure you are, Buddy. Little by little," I said, happy that he seemed to notice his own improvements.
Then, after a few moments of driving in silence, he said, "Good. Because Santa came last year, even though I made a lot of bad choices. So I'm sure he'll come this year!"
And, he seemed genuinely relieved.
This year, we made it a point not to talk about Santa watching, not to coerce with threats of presents lost. Though many of Sky's friends have elves on their shelves, we opted not to put more pressure on our already anxiety-ridden child. And, you know what? He kept it together. He didn't have a pre-Christmas regression, and, aside from some over-excitement surrounding a certain Playmobil remote control car, he's been unusually calm.
Last night, at Christmas Eve service, someone asked Sky whether he thought Santa was headed his way.
He responded as cooly and articulately as I've ever seen him in such a situation, "I was approximately one percent better this year than last year, and Santa came last year, so I'm pretty sure he'll come again tonight."
Then, stopping to gather his thoughts, he concluded, "He knows I'm trying."
Yes, he does, Buddy. He really does!
May your holidays be filled with peace and may you all be able to rejoice in your accomplishments big and small.