Yeah, yeah…Cowboys and Gunslingers…I’ll get to part two. Yesterday I got a little surprise.
Not a bad one, and not one that was unexpected…just…just…I wasn’t quite ready for this one.
Granted, I’ve had the unmitigated pleasure of having not had to face this line of questioning for far longer than I thought I would. We had a few near misses with this delicate issue, I’ve danced around it as best I could. But finally the statement I didn’t want to hear…
“Mom, there is no Santa Claus.”
OH. MY. GOD.
I was so not prepared for this though I should have been. Mr. C is ten years old, how we avoided this topic for so long astounds me. But there it was, and I had to deal with it. His very best friend shared this information with him yesterday. He had heard it before, but never from such a trusted source.
I remember when I started to question. I was about his age, maybe a little younger. My Santa wrapped the gifts, because in the 70′s, he had time to do that. (Why did he have more time then? Because he wasn’t on facebook or twitter all day, that’s why.) But one day, I was looking for a misplaced toy or something in my parents bedroom and I looked under the bed…only to discover the wrapping paper that Santa had used the year before, because obviously he wouldn’t have the same paper in the North Pole as the rest of the gifts under the tree in Texas, right?
So I walked out into the den with the wrapping paper in hand, lip quivering, thinking I had been lied to all these years about a jolly fat man sliding down the chimney and you know what my Mother said?
Nothing. Nothing at all. She refused to admit or deny the fact that he existed. She just sort of blinked a few times then wandered off, lit a cigarette, and poured herself a stiff drink. (Hey, it was the 70′s…) Finally after pressing her for weeks like a tiny Perry Mason and brandishing the suspect wrapping paper in her face, she came up with this gem: “To receive, you must believe.” And trust me when I tell you the look on her face let me know we were not to speak of this particular incident again.
So when my oldest child came to me yesterday and said that his best friend had told him that there was no Santa, and that in fact it was Mom and Dad who put the presents under the tree, I immediately morphed into my Mom (sans alcohol because sadly it’s not the 70′s anymore, and also, it was only 3:30) and said,
“To receive, you must believe…”
Sure, he has doubt in his mind much like I did so many years ago standing there with nothing but a roll of wrapping paper as evidence. I guess I want him to believe in the spirit of Santa still more than anything. I want him to understand that at times people will give you gifts for no other reason at all than you are a good and loving person and even sometimes when you don’t deserve them at all. These gifts can come in a varying array of fashions…compliments, hugs, friendships out of the blue or just a simple pat on the back. I’m not ready for him to let go of that thought. And I hope he never does. I never did.
Of course, the good stuff on Christmas morning doesn’t exactly suck either.
You say there is no Santa?
I say I don’t believe you.