Hunter stood with his golden ticket in-hand (or, on occasion, in-hat) patiently waiting to board the Polar Express in Batesville, MS. The whole Fechter family was dressed in their matching red pajamas, looking as cozy as ever. I was also in my pajamas and house shoes, because I never pass up an opportunity to wear my pj's in public and get away with it.
I watched the wonder on Hunter and Maggie's faces as they boarded the train and claimed their seats for the ride. The whistle blew and we felt a small jolt as the train started to make it's way down the tracks towards the North Pole. We settled in as chefs danced down the aisles as they handed everyone cookies and steamy hot chocolate. As we sipped our hot cocoa and sang songs from the movies with the elves, giggles and happiness filled the air. We even had one of the elves read a story to us!
As the North Pole came into sight, everyone rushed to the windows of the train to get a better view as the Christmas lights gleamed and reflected on the windows.
Foggy little hands pressed against the glass, and dozens of tiny eyes searched for the most anticipated and respected person in any child's life: Santa.
A soft silence fell over the train as everyone listened for the warm voice of a familiar stranger. Heavy footsteps climbed the steps of the train, and then an eruption of joy and happiness sang through the train cart as Santa himself made his way to each child to greet them and give them their own bell to ring.
"The bell still rings for me, as it does for those who truly believe."
So much magic still remains in the world for children, and I got to witness it firsthand on the Polar Express with one of my sweetest families. SO thankful to not only document these memories for them, but to be a part of that memory as well. Love you, baby Hunter, Jennifer and Gavin! You three bring so much joy to my life!