Friday, August 29, 2014

Is Santa Real?

The other day, while his sister was at a sleepover, my son asked if Santa was real.  Ugh. The dreaded question.  That is, before the birds and the bees.  Thankfully it wasn't, "Why do I feel so weird inside when I look at Emily?" but rather, "Is the wonderful, magical man who brings toys and delight to me once a year, real?"

Back on March 17th, I put together a cute St. Patrick's Day scene for a photo shoot for my cake blog: a green-dyed cupcake with part of it cut away, green painted footprints leaving the scene, and teeny-tiny dishes strewn about as if a little leprechaun had had a delicious green cupcake picnic.

My kids came home and looked at the little scene where I had my camera set up.  While Little Miss admired it, and moved on, her brother looked at it in wonder.

"Oh, look, mom, it's been eaten!"

I was sitting in an armchair reading a book in the other room, and I looked up in surprise as I realized he truly believed a leprechaun had come.  We'd never talked of leprechauns before.  In fact, Little Miss made me look it up on the internet.  She said, "the footprints are just paint."  But still, his imagination was undeterred.

I showed him the paint tray which he had been using just the day before, with the little shoes I had used to create the footprints.  I thought for sure he'd know I did it.

"OH! He took the shoes!" he cried, as Little Miss scolded me for using her toy's shoes.

I couldn't believe it, and I couldn't break the spell.  I didn't want to.  It wasn't until after his dad came home, that he started to question it.

Alone in the kitchen after supper he asked me if I had done it.

"What do you want me to say?" I asked.

"The truth."

"Yes, I did it.  I wanted to do something fun and cute, and it was fun and cute, wasn't it?"

"Yes." And then he went back to eating his ice cream as the whole discussion rolled off his back.

That night the kids brought it up again, but this time with bigger questions.  "Well, who fills our stockings? and what else isn't real?"

I wasn't ready to let it all go that day so I asked, "well, what do you believe in? Fairies? Pixies? Ghosts? Santa?"

"Well, Santa's real!" Little Miss firmly said.

"And I know the tooth fairy is real - unless you do that, too!" my son said, accusingly. I just laughed.

We've never done the Easter bunny thing or the leprechaun thing or the elf on the shelf...but in the belief of something unseen, they clung to the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, until today.

"Is Santa real?" my son asked, while his sister was away.

"What do you want me to say?" I ask.

"The truth."

As I looked at my son in the rearview mirror of the car, I knew that when he would return to school in the fall he would be too old to believe in Santa.  That the other kids probably would know the truth already.  And I know with his sweet little heart, he would not break the news to the ones who did not, including his little sister.

So I told him the truth.  And he went back to eating his ice cream as the whole discussion rolled off of his back.

It was only my heart that broke.

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