Never has there ever been a more innocuous song than “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” I mean, it’s a song about a kid who sneaks down the stairs at Christmas Eve and probably saw his parents in a clinch under the mistletoe. In the way that perfect dads always dress up to put the presents under the tree, just in case their ne’er do well children try to catch the jolly red elf when they are supposed to be asleep. That way their kids are none the wiser and get to maintain their innocence a little while longer before they find out that Santa is one of the biggest lies their parents ever tell them.
I was six when I made the mistake of singing it when we were in line to see Santa at the mall. Mom and dad, in public, were the perfect picture of the perfect family, alongside me and my adorable little brother and the family golden retriever. In private, though, we were a mess. So that’s why I was more than a little surprised when I started the song I’d learned in music class the week before and my dad went ballistic.
“You’ve been making out with that guy?” he said in a deceptively calm voice to my mother. He was a jealous guy, always accusing of cheating on him and flying off the handle. Today was no different, but he rarely did it in public.
“Of course not,” she scoffed, shooting smiles at the other people in line trying not to make a scene. The truth was, she was constantly cheating on father and we weren’t one hundred percent certain that my little brother, Joey, was actually my dad’s kid. My whole family had deep brown hair and blue eyes, but Joey was a blonde with brown eyes. My mom always tried to point to her father’s features and claim recessive genes, but my dad wasn’t so sure.
“Are you calling Kim a liar?” he seethed directly into her ear and I watched my mother’s face pale.
“She was singing a song from school, Larry,” she said in that same overly sweet voice, but then made the mistake of making eye contact with Santa and smiling. It was then that all hell broke loose and we had to bail my dad out of jail for punching the mall Santa in the face in front of a line of thirty children. He had court ordered anger management classes after that.
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