Is Santa Claus Real?
Well, dear reader, it finally happened. Yesterday, The Bean finally asked, "Mom, is Santa a real person?" I have known this day is coming for a while, but I wasn't prepared for it. It took every ounce of restraint not to put my fingers in my ears, close my eyes tightly and yell, "Lalalalala, I can't hear you!" or just run away sobbing. You see, dear reader, I have thoroughly enjoyed my daughter's childhood. I have enjoyed Santa, the Easter Bunny, and trick or treat. I have even grudgingly enjoy that God-forsaken Elf and the Shelf. Okay, to be truthful, I don't enjoy that elf. I hate that elf. I hate how every year I have to rack my brain to up the game of having a cool elf. However, I enjoy watching Jordan enjoy that stupid elf. I digress. Yesterday, I watched a little piece of her childhood magic crumble away, or so I thought.
Trying to be nonchalant about it, I replied, "What do you mean?" I hate it when she answers my question with a question. She, in turn, has heard, "Don't answer my question with a question!" so many times it is ingrained in her. I got the raised eyebrow, the sigh, and the response, "How many other meanings can it have, Mom? Is Santa a real person?" I braced myself and replied, "Yes, Santa is a real person. He's just not the real person you think." I went on to explain that Santa is indeed a person, but I am Santa, Daddy is Santa, GramBarb is Santa, Jessica is Santa, etc., etc., etc. That anyone who gives for the sheer joy of giving and expects nothing but happiness in return is the embodiment of Santa. That once a person understands who Santa really is, then that person becomes Santa too. I also explained that once a person becomes Santa, they have an obligation to keep Santa's secret. It is never okay to tell a little one the true identity of Santa.
She listened quietly, and I prepared myself to answer more questions. Instead, she looked at me, smiled her million-watt smile, and said, "So he is real? Awesome! I knew it!" She danced off and went on to do flip after flip after flip in the living room. I was confused. I thought I had explained things pretty clearly. However, she didn't seem to get it. It definitely wasn't the reaction I had expected. Never one to leave well enough alone, I followed her into the living room. "Bean, do you have any more questions?" I asked. She responded, "Nope, I'm good." I went on with, "Do you understand?" She finally stopped flipping and said, "I just wanted to know if he is a real person. You said he is, and I'm good with that." Well, alright then, we're good.
Now, I'm the one who is confused. Does she still believe? Do I have to keep up the act? Do I continue to pretend the big guy is coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve? I'm not sure where I stand. I told The Bibbed Wonder about our conversation. He put his arm around me and said, "Do you really think she still believes? She's a good kid that loves you a lot. Maybe she knows you're not ready for her to not believe." I said, "Well, I'm going with she still believes." The Bibbed Wonder just sighed and patted my head. "Okay, buddy, whatever you decide."
I suppose, if I really think about it, The Bean and I are both maintaining our willing suspension of belief. I'm good with that. I will continue to believe she believes in Santa, the Bunny, and that F*&$!#@ Elf...I hate that Elf. Carry on childhood, carry on.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, keep believing, and wash your hands.