The Hour He Didn’t Believe

Why do important life moments always take place somewhere like Fudrucker’s?  In this case, it happened at one of the tables right in front of the soft drink machines, while our little group found ourselves surrounded by customers milling back and forth between the order pick up station and their tables.

“Mom, I KNOW there’s no Santa Claus.  I KNOW it’s you and Dad.  You just need to tell me.”  Soccer Boy, always deterred on the Santa question previously but some creative questioning in return from me, was having nothing of it a few weeks before Christmas.  I tried the “People who don’t believe in Santa don’t get any presents from him” tact.  No go.

So I dodged answering immediately by saying we’d discuss it when we weren’t right in the middle of dinner at a restaurant.  That bought me approximately twenty minutes until we departed and got into the car.

“You have to tell me NOW, Mom. I want to know for sure.”

So I did.  For the first time ever with one of my children, I admitted that Santa didn’t really deliver gifts all over the world on Christmas Eve.  That he needed some help from parents to get the work done. 

And Soccer Boy was mad.  Really mad.  Not that Santa didn’t exist but that he’d been lied to all these years, that everyone else was in on the secret and kept it from him.  And that’s not all.  Immediately after I made my admission, he said, “So, the Easter Bunny?  The Tooth Fairy?  All lies too?”

It was awful.  Made even more awful by the fact that when Adventure Guy called from his business trip that evening, Soccer Boy immediately jumped on the line to tell him that the gig was up.  That he knew, and he wasn’t happy.  Adventure Guy couldn’t believe I’d fessed up.  I told him my choice had been either than or outright lying in answer to a direct question–something I’ve always sworn I’d never do with my children.  I might as well have answered the phone that night and said, “Hello, disillusionment central.”

And what I’ve found very strange is the fact that Soccer Boy is not the only one who’s disillusioned.  While  the girls never felt the need to confront the issue as Soccer Boy did, I, of course, knew that at 12 and 14 they’d figured things out.  Which meant that this year, for the first time ever, I found myself preparing for a Christmas morning without the magic of Santa.

And a little bit of the magic of Christmas left with him.  While we had a wonderful Christmas in many ways, something was missing this year.  The kids got almost everything they’d asked for–a perfect year in my opinion since I don’t believe in getting everything on their lists.  But the day just felt flat.  I miss the years when the kids couldn’t wait to get downstairs to see what Santa left the night before; somehow their texting us to announce that they were ready at 10:00 a.m. (when the younger two finally managed to rouse DD1) didn’t quite rise to the same level of excitement.

I’d even suggested to Adventure Guy on Christmas Eve when everyone stayed up so late that we could put things out in the morning before they got up.  He didn’t go for it, and, honestly, that might have made it worse.  But I will do something different next year.  I’m not sure what yet, but I’m thinking of wrapping the gifts rather than just setting them out in piles from Santa.  Maybe it’s time to transition to Adventure Guy’s family tradition of having a few wrapped gifts come from Santa along with the other gifts from family members.  Coming from a family where we received Santa gifts on Christmas morning well into our twenties, I’m at a loss.

And, much as I love the current ages of my children overall, I’ll admit that this is one milestone that is more bitter than sweet.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Hour He Didn’t Believe

  1. Yeah, right there with you sister. The one thing I did was hide one of the supposed Santa gifts so that he had to wonder if he got it or not. That helped and I may do the treasure hunt or hiding thing in future years just to keep it interesting.

  2. ramblingmom

    Rough.

    But since the gig is up — you could consider changing some traditions around. Perhaps your family could make it a project to spread the magic around in other ways. Perhaps you have a family with young kids in your neighborhood or church that needs an extra pair of hands with wrapping gifts (or hiding gifts) or there’s an organization in the area that needs an extra hand on Christmas Eve or Christmas so they can spend more time with their families (I have friends that are Catholic that always volunteer in the Synagogue nursery on High Holidays so people can attend worship — and some Jewish friends that do likewise for Christian groups). Perhaps you can volunteer at the local shelter doing walking and feeding so other people can be home with young kids?

    This year (as you probably know) I enlisted Chip as one of Santa’s Helpers. I hope to somehow do the same with Princess when the time comes (though I’m not sure exactly how).

    (Is this the little girl I carried
    Is this the little boy at play
    I don’t remember growing older
    WHEN DID THEY???)

  3. My two daughters are in the mid-20s now and still are bitter about the way I broke the news to them — at least they say they are. But they’re also bitter that I made them go to school, be nice to others and pick up after themselves, so there you go.

  4. Pingback: Toward Eternity « Somewhere In The Suburbs

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