Monday, December 13, 2010


The Christmas I was in 4th grade, my grandparents slept over at our house.  I think they might have been living with us, or maybe it was for convenience.  But that Christmas Eve, Amy and I slept downstairs on the floor in front of the fireplace.  I can remember laying on this super soft, comfy lambswool rug that inhabited the hearth.  It was very dark downstairs, and I had a hard time sleeping, so all night I dreamed of the magic of the next day.  Little forest creatures and presents wove in and out of my dreams all night (it sounds cheesy, but seriously: I dreamed of deer and bunnies. Really.)

I never heard a sound that night.  Our Christmas tree was right upstairs, and so my parents had to be doing their Christmas Eve thing, but I never heard them, despite my sleeplessness.  It added to the excitement.  I totally and truly believed in Santa at this point in my life.  There were no doubts to cloud the magic of Christmas the way there would be the next year.  And, even when I knew Santa didn't exist the next year, I waited one more before I told my mom.  I knew that the present count was higher for those who believed versus those who didn't.  (Yes, in case you kept track: I avoided telling my mom about not believing until I was in 7th grade.  Hey, I was the youngest. I could get away with it.)

So this year, my own son is in 4th grade.  He asks a lot of questions about Santa.  But I know there is a part of him who still believes in Santa.  Or is really willing to want to believe in Santa.  And that is just fine with me.  I will be so so sad when he no longer believes.  And when Ben, my youngest, doesn't believe anymore: it will be painful.  The knowledge from which there is no return will make all Christmasses from then on After.  And that is just so incredibly sad to me.

So I wish I could just stop time.  Keep my kids little.  I don't care if they are 15 and don't tell me that they no longer believe in Santa.  I don't want them to lose the sense of magic and wonder that Santa brings.  Sure, it can be viewed as materialistic (after all, that was why I waited to tell my own mother!) But I don't mind having them keep me in the dark as to their knowledge.  I want them to go to bed on Christmas Eve so excited that they have dreams about woodland creatures bringing them presents.

Do your kids still believe?  Are you happy to let them keep you in the dark?  Was it terrible, that first Christmas After, when everyone knew and everyone knew that they knew?


Amy Sorensen said...

I think what is saddest for me is seeing how THEY don't respond with as much excitement, once they know. This is why Haley wants all surprises this year...she wants to feel the magic again. It isn't the same.

I, too, am grateful to have one little one left who still believes. When HE is bigger and doesn't...oh my. Sadness. Somehow I had forgotten (again!) that he'll grow up, too. Your post reminded me that my days of the believer(s) (Nathan KNOWS but will nto admit it, not that I have pushed him at all. I don't care if he's a 15-year-old believer either!) are coming to an end...