And Friedman, who said she gets asked to leave public places on a regular basis because of disruptive behavior by her sons, said she felt relieved knowing they could explore the Caring Santa area set up in the closed mall without causing a scene.
“I felt like a five-star hotel guest, when normally I’m usually escorted out of places because my kids are too crazy,” she said, chuckling.
In Watertown last weekend, 12-year-old Tyler Piliero ran ahead of his mother into the Arsenal Mall to investigate the Santa village display, and happily clambered onto St. Nick’s lap upon command and enthusiastically smiled while camera shutters clicked.
As Tyler returned to throw his arms around his mom, Newton resident Pamela Piliero, in an ecstatic hug, she urged him to show Santa his gift wish list. He happily trotted back to Santa, showing him the page of paper where he had scrawled such items as a Wii basketball game, a “Guess Who?” board game, and sweaters.
“Anything you can do would be great,” his mom cajoled Santa conspiratorially. “He’s been great this year.”
As Tyler talked to Santa, his mom said that although this was not their first picture with Santa, she felt more relaxed at the special event.
“Typically, we’ll be really rushed, and there’s not enough time to make sure he’s smiling,” Piliero said, keeping an eye on her son as he wandered the village set. “It’s important to us to have the time to talk to Santa, and he had a great smile in the picture.”
As Tyler returned to hug his mom once more, she beamed as she collected him in her arms. “And, we’re having a great day,” she said proudly, hugging him back.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.