Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Today was an interesting day.
It was the day my son ask the dreaded "R" question about Santa Claus. "Is Santa REAL?"
My son is 11 years old. You would think he would know by now that Santa isn't "real." But he didn't.
He never asked us, not once, if Santa was "real." He always asked us if we BELIEVED in Santa.
We always said yes. We do believe.....in the spirit of Santa.
That being said, I couldn't say Santa was a real and living person at the North Pole. It was all in the wording of his question. I couldn't bend the rules to keep from breaking his heart.

Today, in school, they were studying poetry. The poem was about the REAL St. Nicolas that died all those years ago. The teacher didn't realize she had a 'believer' in the class so she proceeded to tell the class how hard it was confirming to her own daughter that Santa wasn't real.
So..... I am reading in the dining room after dinner, and he comes quietly in to the room with giant alligator tears in his eyes.
He didn't want to ask me because he said "I don't want to hear the answer." I thought it must be something he knows he can't have. I never in a million years would have expected the "Santa" question. But he knew before I opened my mouth. I tried diversion tactics by asking him a bunch of questions but his tears got bigger and eventually trickled out onto his cheeks.
It broke my heart. So many people are happy to crush the illusion of the magical thing that is "Santa." Not me. Should I know better? Perhaps. But, I like to believe in things out of our reach too.
So, as we talked, I told him that Santa lives in your heart. That the stories of people secretly giving toys to orphans and coats to a neighbor who has none.....that is where Santa comes in.
He KNOWS Christmas is about Jesus and doesn't confuse the two. But he, like most children wants to believe in something 'else'...something magical.
With tears in his eyes, he hugged and kissed me and then asked me to please still sign his Christmas presents (the ones from Santa) "Love, Santa." He then dried up his tears and said that he wouldn't tell his little sister. I thanked him for that.

Now, the mother bear part of me wants to email his teacher and fuss at her for what she did.
How could she disclose the awful truth about Santa to her classroom? How many other kids DIDN'T know? (apparently there were a few others who got a shock too..._
But the other (more reasonably sane) part of me acknowledges that this is simply one of those bittersweet moments we all face..........


Jennifer said...

That is unacceptable. How exactly does that poem fit into the curriculum? I'm a former teacher and I know that I could have picked a different and much better poem for a lesson than that! You have every right to be angry. She had no right to take that from your son- our kids are losing their innocence so fast these days as it is! Shame on her!!!

Chickpea said...

You know this is very weird to me, my parents were sort of communist when I was growing up, they never talked about Santa, he just wasn't part of the equation... I wonder if I missed something special... They just would always give me the plain naked truth, by twelve I was reading Primo Levi about the Holocaust. Maybe now that I am going to be a mom things will be different.
You post was very touching, Thank you for sharing this.

Unknown said...

I remember reading this story when we first started chatting.. but I had forgotten about it. Thank you for reminding me of this heartfelt story.

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