"I don't really care if you are the one who gives us presents, not Santa... it's just I want to know what to do on Christmas morning someday when I have kids."
NOTE: SPOILER ALERT - This post for magic holders only
A mom and I were comparing notes on how the Santa conversation happened for us this Christmas. Her determined eldest refuses to listen to anyone who says Santa is not real. However, the second in line, an 8 year old going on 28, said the above quote to her mom when not in earshot of her siblings. She was truly concerned that if her mom didn't pass along the gameplan now, she wouldn't be ready when the time came in... what, like hopefully 20 years or so!
On the other hand, this was my daughter's thought process...
"So you are the one who gives me my presents, not Santa?"
"Then are you the one who hides Elf?"
"Wait! So then you're the one who burned elf on the lamp!"
Oops.... well, for any of you who have read that post, Overheard at... Home, last year you'll know it was a narrow escape for me that took an all out hunt for a replacement and eventually tested my sewing and gluing skills.
I apologized profusely... and then sat helplessly while she cried about her lost innocence (my words, not hers.) I have wondered for a while now how this might all happen and when, so I should have been a lot more prepared. Perhaps it is because I work with words so much that I somehow knew the words would come when I needed them. And they did, sort of.... lots of things about magic not having to be physical to be real, and that it only takes looking at all of the lights and presents and festivities around the world to know that Santa's magic is very real.
And yet... there she was sitting on my lap crying. Had I blown it? Was there a special way to explain that I had messed up? Would Christmas ever be the same again? It's been a week now, and this morning we got yelled at for forgetting to hide elf overnight. Things feel back to normal. She is excited about Christmas, and putting a whole other level of thought into her Christmas gift. She is looking forward to keeping the magic for a younger cousin and for others who still believe in the physical being of Santa. And she has all new ideas for the mischief Elf can get into.
But.... no, Christmas won't be the same again, and we all know it. She was ready to take on this new level of understanding, but she is also missing her childhood, not only in this way, but in many ways. And although we have been very open about the facts of life and she knows all about how babies come about, what I have learned this week is that knowing and understanding can be two very different things. I could have told her years ago about Santa.... but it is only because she believed and knew the magic that she now understands what it's loss means to her.
Still, I'm glad Santa has been an important part of our life. Because of him, when I described the real magic of Christmas, she understood the power of that beautiful word.
What makes your Christmas magical? I hope wherever it comes from, your Christmas journey is a magical one.
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