I knew I was going to miss playing Kringle this year, but it didn't hit me how much I was going to miss it until I saw someone else in the part I cherish and love so much. It's so much more than a role for me. That's why I'm so good at it.
That's why I'm not doing it now. I simply can't do a consistently good job.
I was walking around today quite badly, both legs feeling like knives had been shoved through them in multiple places. I may be fine one day and barely able to walk the next. I'd push myself to do it, but the reason I'm not is I don't want to risk screwing it up for the kids. They make it worth it, but it's a bloody tough gig, even when you're feeling 100%.
If Santa can barely walk to or from the throne, or suddenly staggers off to one side and crashes into a wall, that ain't good for anyone.
But today I was reminded of something else. I have said for the last two years that Santa-ing was the only job I had loved as much as droving. I've never stopped missing droving. Having to stop was like having a part of myself torn away. I've always described it as like losing an arm.
Today I realised for the first time that I don't have Santa either, gutting me completely.
And now I know what it's like to lose my heart.