Sitting in my office one night, nose to the grind and working away...trying to get as much done before I have to run out to take you to piano...you carefully waited.
You waited for your dad and little brother to head out the door, far from being able to hear and you asked...
hey mom? Can I ask you something?
Sure honey, what is it?
Is Santa real?
I always knew that by the time you were "old enough" and would ask me this seriously, I would answer truthfully. But, I was distracted and had a lot racing through my mind and I wasn't really listening...I wasn't paying attention. So, I mindlessly said "yeah".
But I saw my gift and Cole's gift from Santa in your Amazon orders, like you and dad bought them.
And THAT got my attention. THAT stopped me, cold. It was time, you were 10. You actually knew. I would now have to absolutely lie so instead, I looked up, locked eyes and began...
Before I could say a word, you knew I was confirming it. You folded into yourself, looking so small and so sad and you started to cry. Tears streaming down your face and you held your head as I tried to talk. Through my own tears of what was happening I said, lovey, Santa is a feeling. He is magic and love and generosity and the Christmas spirit. ALL of that is very real, so knowing that, does it matter who puts the presents under the tree? You didn't say a word, you had your arms around my neck, we were both crying and I saw you nod your head in agreement. We sat like that for what felt like forever, and I remembered hard all of the milestones we had together and I tried so so hard to say more, instead, we both just cried. As you pulled away you said, I promise not to tell Cole.
You're part of the magic now honey. You are allowed to feel so so sad, because it is sad. There is that part of your childhood that is over now. That makes me very sad. But, it's also really beautiful. You get to be that magic for Cole and all of your friends that still believe. As you continued to nod your head you asked simple questions like who ate the cookies and drank the egg nog and "wow, you guys must stay up really late for us" and then you started to put other parts of this together, so, the Easter Bunny too?
We both cried all the way to piano that night. You asked how old I was when I stopped believing and you told me how this year you were really questioning it and how some of your friends were talking about it. But, that you still thought it was true and it took seeing that it wasn't to really grasp the fact that it just wasn't true.
As always, you were fine, that night, the next morning, you moved on. I don't know how next Christmas will go for you and if you will be just as excited to watch Cole get worked up over it. Me, as always, I'm too many steps behind. I keep thinking about the Christmas you were three, how into it you were. The one when you turned four and really really got it. The unbelievable excitement you had on your face. How it lit up when you came down the stairs. Dad keeps reminding me about all of the traditions we have that make the holidays special, how it has nothing to do with Santa and we made sure of that but God, it's really done. I'm sure part of him feels almost relieved, but I'm just blue and reminiscing and going through old photo albums and I can't bring myself to watch a single home video because I can't handle it. I can't handle the smallness of it all back then.
So, I tried to pick myself up. I even have ideas of how this will all play out once you both know. Yes, I will be that mom that gives you a Santa gift until the day I die because I will continue with the magic lovies.
I know how much more emotional I am than all others about stuff like this, I get it. But, I also know that this is a really big deal. It's a huge milestone and we both see things differently now, a little more of real-life crept in. I know it was time you found out. I know we were going to have this conversation soon anyway, but sitting alone with you in the office, holding you, whispering together and crying together, that was hard and special at the same time. You waited for Cole to not be there. You knew we couldn't talk about it. You showed a level of maturity and smallness all in one.
Because that is where we live with you now, in the in-between.