Behind the Scene Santa

I’ve been seeing a lot of cute posts and pictures, reading a lot of words of kindness and encouragement, for delivery men this season.  I get it.  Trust me!!!  I am eternally thankful to MY delivery guys AND GALS for all the hard work that they put in, especially during the Christmas season.  I, a stay-home, homeschooling mom of four children, rarely get the chance to go to a store alone, like NEVER.  I have ordered all my gifts this year…and last year…and the year before.  I am on the “Thank a Delivery Guy” bandwagon and I am tooting the horn…the kids are banging the drums.

BUT, I want to take it a step further…further UP the chain…

I’d also like to shine the spotlight on another group of people…a very LARGE, incredibly important group of people.  You could say that they are the grease that keeps the crazy mouse-wheel that we are on spinning.  They are overlooked A LOT.  In fact, they are often looked down on.  They are grumbled and complained about more often than any positive or loving word is said about them….at least from the mouths and keyboards of people that I see.

The Santas that I want to tip my hat to remain hidden away, behind the scenes.

Truck drivers.

No, not just DELIVERY truck drivers, but also the big-rigs, 18-wheelers, over the road truckers.  These are the drivers who sleep in dark truck stops or vacant lots, away from their families for weeks, sometimes months, on end.  Most of them don’t know from one day to the next where their “home” is going to be parked, it’s all dictated by the all-powerful clock.  They are battling a schedule that was borderline impossible to keep, right from the start of their current run.

The trucker, a hard-working soul, is sitting alone, eating greasy truck stop food.  His family is thousands of miles away at home, sitting around a table with one empty seat, saying grace over a homecooked meal.  The very items to be served in home-cooked meals all over the country are chilling in a refrigerated truck in the parking lot as he opens his ketchup packet.  These items are en route to the next big chain grocery store…holiday meals that he may not be home to eat…milk and cookies for the “real” Santa.

His kids are at home, wondering when daddy is coming back again.  They are longing to climb the “daddy tree” and have piggy-back rides.  There are monsters under the bed just waiting to be found.  The pictures that the kids have colored litter the tables, refrigerator, and floors because they can’t be mailed…daddy doesn’t have an address.

Daddy has missed many bedtime prayers and kisses.  His oldest daughter learned to ride her bike, the baby took her first steps.  He has missed ballet recitals and his children singing in Christmas plays…often, he’s even missed Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays…

He can’t remember where his family keeps the tape or the extra toilet paper.

He is not around to wipe his wife’s tears as she crumples under the pressure of the exhaustion and loneliness that she shares with her trucker.  She is trying to carry out the responsibilities of a family, filling dual roles…solo parent.  The entire weight of the household rests on her shoulders until he arrives back home.  She misses her partner in this world.

At the end of his shift, he doesn’t simply drive his truck home or drop it off at the terminal for the night to rest and wait for tomorrow.  No, he stops it where he must, chocks the tires to keep from rolling, showers if he can, and tries to grab whatever food is available where his engine is idling for the night.  Got to keep going tomorrow.  Got to beat the clock, make the schedule, finish this run.

I say “he,” though there are countless men AND WOMEN drivers…

”He” is my husband.

He has missed a lot.

I am truly indebted to my USPS, UPS, and FedEx sleigh-driving heroes, but not one item on their truck has avoided the bed or container of a long-haul trucker.  Some part of everything that you have has been touched in some way by these unsung heroes.

They are delivering the goods to the sleigh drivers.  No goods, no goodies.  No goodies, no giggles and holiday excitement.

So, this holiday season, if you are stuck behind one of those “stupid trucks” that are always blocking the highway, complaining that it is going too fast or too slow (never just right), please take the time to notice the face in the big mirror.  It is the face of someone who works HARD, who eats alone, sleeps alone, lives alone…not because they don’t have families, but because they are supporting their family AND yours.  Flash your lights, let them over, show a little love.  Remember friend, if his wheels aren’t rolling, he’s not making a dime.  I can promise you, there is a HUGE chance that the face in that mirror is trying to get home as soon as possible to get snuggles from his little munchkins and a kiss from his wife.

Elmo is waiting, hidden under the bed, to scare daddy. He’s been waiting awhile.


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