I am heartbroken. I’m devastated.
Just like I knew it one day would, but it happened way too early.
My boys asked the question we, as parents, thought would one day come. We had an answer all rehearsed, but “the talk” never goes exactly as planned, does it?
The older neighbor boy exposed my boys to some information that they were way too young to hear.
I guess I should be thankful that they came to us to verify the information.
Still, I’m saddened that we had to have the conversation at all.
Randall took Isaac home from church on Saturday night. I had Asher in the car with me. We put the boys in bed and Randall and I got in bed ourselves and Randall told me that he and Isaac had talked about Algebra in the car. Three days later, Randall confessed what they had really talked about.
Isaac asked Randall the question.
I heard Asher ask Isaac the same question all week long. They must have talked about it at one point before Isaac got The Talk from Randall. I was in another room every time so I didn’t feel the need to answer quite yet, but I heard Isaac ignore the question three or four different times this week alone.
And then it happened. The boys and I were on our way out the door last night. Randall was holding Asher in his arms, saying goodbye, when Asher blurted out:
Do you think Santa is real?
Can you hear my heart breaking?
I replied quickly that Santa absolutely is real. His name was Nicholas and a long time ago he secretly gave presents to needy kids. And we keep his spirit alive every Christmas by giving to people we love. I confessed that Randall and I were the ones who put the presents under the tree, but Santa is absolutely real and you can tell everyone you know that you still believe in Santa. I do!
We also mentioned that it’s a secret you learn, and you don’t get to tell anyone else.
Randall confessed that when he and Isaac had the talk in the car on Saturday, he told Isaac, “Don’t tell Asher, or your mom.”
It was a short conversation.
Asher accepted the news and went on with his evening. I dropped the boys off at my parents house last night and went to volunteer with my 11th grade girls at church.
My parents said they were asking the boys about Santa and talking about the elves and the boys seemed pretty quiet about it all.
I talked to my girls at church about it. We went around the whole circle and each told our memory of the moment we found out that our parents were putting the presents under our trees and signing Santa’s name. It’s a defining moment in every kid’s life. You never forget the moment you learned the truth about Santa.
I honestly had to blink away some tears.
I was told years ago to pay attention to tears. Your emotions tell you what’s going on in your heart. I’m really trying to figure out the root of my devastation of this simple conversation I had to have with my boys.
I think it represents the loss of magic at Christmas. I think it’s the loss of childlike wonder at it all. I think that conversation last night means the loss of a huge piece of childhood. As I listened to my 11th graders tell their stories, the majority of the girls were in third grade when they found out for sure. Isaac is in second grade and Asher is only 5! I am so angry at our 5th grade neighbor friend! He stole my kids childhood!
I don’t know how to have Christmas anymore. I don’t know if I should leave some gifts unwrapped (because Santa doesn’t wrap his gifts). I don’t know how to talk about presents with my kids. I don’t know if we should not visit Santa this year. I don’t know how to do Christmas!
I know there are a lot of Christians out there who never emphasize Santa because they fear that their kids will lump Jesus in with all of the other fictional characters we talk about.
I guess there is still wonder and magic and mystery about Christmas. I guess I can emphasize the truth about the indescribable event that happened 2000 years ago that we celebrate every year. Maybe I should be sad that we’ve never looked at the virgin birth of a perfect son who was fully human and fully God with as much wonder as we look at a fictional, albeit jolly man in a fuzzy red suit.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Santa. I’m his biggest fan! But maybe our Christmases are just going to be different from now on but not for the worse.
But for old times sake. Here’s Santa through the years:
I’m convinced he’s the real one.
Just last year my boys sat in Santa’s lap as he read their cards and wish lists together.