© Stephenie Freeman
It’s easy to believe in things when you’re young. There’s no logic, just magic. No reasoning, just trusting.
Children are some of the most trusting people on the planet. They’d have to be to believe the crap that we tell them.
Believing becomes a little easier around the holidays. We want to believe that the elves can make all of our toys. We want to believe that the reindeers can fly all the way around the world in one night. We want to believe that the inhabitable, desolate North Pole really is the home to a jolly old man who will make all of our wishes come true.
Unfortunately, at some point in our lives we stop believing. The magic fades and we become boring grownups that logically reason our lives away.
I’ll never forget when I was bombarded with the cold, hard truth. It was Christmas Eve, circa 1980. I was unable to sleep. I wondered into my mother’s bedroom only to find her standing on a stool getting down all of my presents from the hiding place in her closet.
Just as I was saying, “Mom, I can’t sleep…” she started yelling.
“Get back to bed! Hurry! Get back to bed!”
Her reaction said it all.
As parents, we all know that our children will eventually figure things out. Whether someone bursts the bubble for us or we figure it out all on our own, there will come a time when common sense replaces the magic. I just wasn’t prepared for my child to be bombarded with all of the cold, hard facts at such a young age.
Driving carpool the other day, I asked one of the kids if she had gone to see Santa yet.
“I don’t believe in Santa,” she told me. “My mom and dad told me he isn’t real.”
If I could have, I would have jumped out of the car and stopped the world from rotating so I could have time to figure out what the hell just happened.
I didn’t have time to do or say anything before my child yelled, “Yes he is! He is too real!”
“No he isn’t,” she said again. “Santa isn’t real.”
I tried to change the subject, but the kids weren’t having it. We were stuck at a red light that seemed like it was never going to change; only giving these young debaters more time to argue.
“He is too real,” my son said again. I had never heard him speak with such passion about anything before. “Santa can make all of your wishes come true,” he told her.
My heart was both melting and breaking at the same time.
With a calm tone she replied, “Your mom and dad give you the presents. Not Santa.”
Okay. Now I was getting angry, which totally felt unnatural considering that the person that I was getting upset with one of the sweetest little 5-year-olds that you could ever meet.
“Well, I believe in Santa,” I told everyone in the car. For the first time in all of my carpooling days, the car was silent.
“Santa’s magic is real. I’ve seen it myself,” I told them.
My son started to smile and even I knew that I was telling the truth.
You see, I’ve seen Santa’s magic. I see Santa’s magic when I watch my sons’ waiting in line to see Santa at the mall. I see Santa’s magic in the way they look at Christmas lights. I see Santa’s magic when they sing, “Santa Claus is coming to town.”
Santa’s real and living inside my children’s hearts. What’s not to believe?
Finally arriving at the school the kids started to hop out to run to class, but I told my son to wait for a minute.
“Sweetie, it’s okay if she doesn’t believe. What matters is that you do. If you believe that Santa is real, then that’s all that matters. Okay?”
“It’s okay, Mom. I know that he’s real.”
I smiled and tried not to cry as I said, “I know he is too.”
Santa might not be the reason for the season, but at our house we still believe.
©2008, Stephenie B. Freeman