Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bittersweet

I finally got the question last night from my daughter.

"Mom, is Santa real?"

I was wondering if this would be the year she asked. She's ten years old and it's probably natural that she would put two and two together by now. Besides, she and her friends talk about this stuff at school. The catalyst for this conversation was her telling me that one of her friends saw her mom putting presents under the tree.

Instead of coming out with a straight, "No, Santa is not real," I decided to take a different approach. I told her about St. Nicolas and how the legend had sort of evolved over the years into its present-day belief.

But I wanted to make sure that she understood one thing. "The spirit of Santa Claus is very real," I told her. "The man himself might not be, but the spirit of giving is."

Then I kissed her goodnight, turned on her CD of music from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and quickly left before she could see my tears.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. Part of her childhood is forever gone. But that is how it must be. I will miss preparing the elaborate notes from Santa on Christmas Eve and seeing her excitement at the presents he brought her on Christmas morning. But I will always have the memories.

10 comments:

  1. Yeah, my 10 yo son has been asking this year as well. I have taken the cowardly approach thus far and meandered around his question but I like your method and may run with it.

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  2. I know exactly how you feel. It is very bittersweet. But you handled it beautifully by saying that the spirit of Santa is real-it's what lets all of us keep on believing.
    (If you need a tissue-I have plenty.) :)

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  3. My older son asked me this year, if they'll stop getting Santa gifts once his younger sister figures it all out.

    Also, I told my sons that if they didn't believe in Santa then they woulnd't get any presents. That keeps up the pretense for a while.

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  4. My nephew has asked me every year for the past three years or so if I believe in Santa Claus. He is ten this year and he just asked me again a few weeks ago. He has two older brothers, and while one plays along for his sake, the other is not as kind and has been insisting for the past few years that Santa is not real. Every year I explain that this one brother is a "fool" because "how else would the presents get there?" ...I'm starting to wonder if my nephew no longer believes but keeps playing along because he thinks I still believe, haha.

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  5. Bittersweet, yes; but what a wonderfully sweet story you've captured here. Someday she will read it and appreciate her mama's wisdom in noting down so much of her growing up moments!

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  6. It's always hard getting these questions. If they ask me about Santa, I ask them why we celebrate Christmas. They admit we're celebrating Jesus' birth and we're all satisfied!

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  7. Aw. It's tragic isn't it? I love keeping that spirit alive for my DD who still believes (although I don't know how forced her belief is at this point). It keeps the family happy that we can still live in that bubble through her eyes. =)

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  8. Oh, this is sweet and bitter too. I've got tears in my eyes reading this post. I love your answer about the legend of Saint Nicholas! My son is asking me about Jesus and death at the moment. ;)

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  9. A lovely story, Melissa. It brought tears to my eyes.

    I was about ten when my sister (5 years older) told me in very scathing terms that *of course* Santa wasn't real. Not believing the wicked sister, I stomped off to ask Mom. My question caught her by surprise and she hesitated while she groped for an answer. That hesitation told me everything.
    Buy hey, I probably only cried for a fortnight solid. :)

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  10. AWwwww. I remember that moment too. I answered it much the same way you did and she loved it still.

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