Tuesday, December 13, 2011

revelations.



i never put much stock in the importance of santa claus.

so a couple of years ago, when the boy (then 4 years old) asked me, is santa real? or is it really just the parents buying all the presents?, i didn’t hesitate to tell him the truth.

i never liked the idea of lying to him in the first place, worrying about the indelicacy of one day undoing all the untruths i’d told. i dreaded the gruesome task of dismantling the gleaming fa├žade that is a child’s most precious holiday.

i had imagined the scenario a hundred times – the ugly truth revealed by a schoolyard friend and my boy racing to me for an explanation, the hurt and distrust welling up in his eyes.

how could you lie to me for all these years?, he would ask, how could you do it?


and so he asked me one day and i told him. and that was that.

i was, in a way, relieved.




but then he told his pre-school friends and they told their mothers, and boy, was i in trouble.

all the groundwork they’d laid to ensure good behavior all year around was for naught.

i’d rendered worthless their meticulous efforts to maintain the myth: the hours spent positioning that crafty all-seeing elf on a shelf; the scrawling on gift tags “from santa” with their opposite writing hand; the wee hours spent fabricating hoof prints in driveway snow and positioning plates of half-eaten cookies on the hearth; the elaborate late-night bedside explanations of the physics of flying reindeer who are able to deliver their keeper to every home in the world in just one night.

despite the other parents’ reactions to my faux pas, i was not too deeply bothered, once again crediting my child for his exceptional level-headedness, and me for my practical thinking.




but in time it occurred to me that I was a rat.

and a complete failure at the one of the most important tasks entrusted to me as a parent:

to nurture in my child his wild, natural ability to believe in what cannot be seen.

so brief is the time children believe anything is possible; that love is unbreakable and that dreams come true. who was i to take that away?




i suppose in the moment, i said what was best for me. i didn’t want to take the chance he’d be angry with me when he got older. i couldn’t face breaking the news later, so i did it now.

but in my self-righteous truth-telling, the truth I forgot is that magic is not only important, it is real: by believing in it we make it so.





i now regret hurrying us both past that dreamy state in which mothers and sons share bedtime stories about jolly arrivals and magical deliveries, and goodness is rewarded for goodness sake.




for all my parental blundering, the boy seems no worse for wear.

he is pleased to know exactly who has possession of his wish list, and to have access to her around the clock for last minute reminders and additions.

but as he transforms in size and maturity before my eyes, I often wonder ...




what was my rush?

* * * * *
here's a charming book, kristin and the santa secret, that tells you the right way to share with your child about santa - go buy it today and share it with your clueless (like me) mommy friends.

and to see a mommy thoroughly enjoying the heck out of the holidays (and every day!) go see what kelle hampton is up to. she inspires me daily to let go of my fear and just enjoy this crazy thing called mothering.

although, even kelle has a bad holiday moment every once and a while.

that's it for today, my lovelies. counting the days until i travel home, where magic will be in abundant supply!

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