Tuesday, December 3, 2013

If I could go back...

I believed in Santa when I was a kid.

And I remember the year that I realized that Santa wasn't real.

It was right after a ward Christmas party, and I had just sat on Santa's lap.

He was real. I knew it with every fiber of my 5-year-old body.

Emily had other ideas.

"He's not Santa. Santa's not real," she revealed. I couldn't tell if she was bitter or not about the idea, but she was certainly emphatic.

I was devastated.

"Yes, he is! I pulled his beard!" I lied. But it was for Santa, so it was okay. Nobody would impugn my Santa.

But the no-Santa idea began percolating in my tiny mind.

And it all made sense. I mean, all the loot Mom and Dad hid in trash bags in the car and in closets that were for Christmas...that never appeared under the tree with the tag that said "From Mom and Dad"... because Santa had brought everything...yeah...

And thus Santa died.

Over the years, I've talked to other moms about their opinion on Santa. Some said it was a fun tradition, others expressed their hesitation to lie to their kids.

And I understand both sides.

But I do choke on my words a little when the kids ask me about Santa.

"Mom, does Santa live in the north pole?"

"Mom, how do reindeer fly?"

"Mom, does Santa get dirty coming down the chimney?"

And I have to come up with something, because I've already gone this far.

But, I have been thinking about what I would do if I could go back...

What I would say if I had the brain cells when Josh was younger.

And I think it would go something like this:

"Who is Santa, Mommy?"

"Well, little one, Santa was my teacher. He taught me it was better to give, than to receive. He taught me to think about what people need, and to look for those needs, and to fulfill them. He taught me that being selfless has more value than being selfish, and that it makes you happier. He taught me that amazing things happen when you believe. He taught me that there is magic in being somebody's secret angel. He taught me that love is the greatest gift you can ever give, and that you can ever receive. That is who Santa was and is to me. And we give gifts to remember him and what he taught. In a lot of ways, he's like Jesus, and I'm sure that he loves Jesus very much, and that they are good friends."

And then I could side step the chimney/flying sleigh/magical elf business, and just enjoy the Essential Santa.

Santa Extract.

I think Santa would like that better, anyway.


3 comments:

Katscratchme said...

I'm sorry that I helped kill Santa for you, but I'm also glad you got him back.
I'm all about reading Yes, Virginia to the kids tomorrow.
There's also I really great book I read to the kids about a month ago (not knowing it was a Christmas book) and it was fantastic.
Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
Read it. It's fun.

Les said...

That picture of Santa kneeling next to the manger is one of my favorite. One of my kids friends was telling Mark that Santa wasn't real a few weeks ago, Mark and this boy came over to ask me if it was true. I didn't want to kill the excitement of Santa for my son but I didn't want to lie either. So I told them that I believe in Santa for what he stands for and what he represents. Just like you said the giving, the kindness, and charity. Do I believe in Santa? Definitely!

Bethany said...

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. There is a book called, "I Believe in Santa Claus" that we read every year at the beginning of December. It is a book along those lines.

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