"SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA'S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!" Buddy the Elf
"Mommy, does Santa ever die?" my six year old was full of questions on our drive home tonight.
Yes, the best conversations always happen when I'm driving with my boys. I ask my children about their day, who they played with, what they learned, if they ate all their lunch, and so on. Conversations, back-and-forth, between my boys and I. Moments I cherish. Until the hard questions are asked. And I'm um, sometimes left wondering what to say.
"No, sweetie... Santa doesn't die," I reply, accepting the fact that I'm lying to my own child.
"Well, how come? Why doesn't he die?" the questions I don't want to answer have finally arrived. My baby is at that age. Six years old, and he's already figured out I'm the magical tooth fairy that leaves him money and a personal letter with every lost tooth. He's wise beyond his years, and he's figured out that Santa is not real. But I can't just give in like that. I have to try to keep the magic alive, don't I?
"Well, he's magical!" I say, because really, I don't know, I'm talking about a make-believe old dude who delivers presents to every good girl and boy on earth in one night on a flying sled with flying reindeer, one with a shiny red nose. Perhaps he's figured out the space-time continuum and is smarter than all of us? Oh, wait... he isn't real.
Truth is, I don't think I ever really believed in Santa, because the house I lived in as a young child didn't have a fireplace.
(Note to self: Remember to write a post about the time in grade six I stuck a car lighter on my nose to see if it would hurt, and what I was called for the rest of the year.)
"Well, I don't believe that Santa is real," my six year old said to me. "He's not real. He is just made up."
"Nooo!" says my little dude, my three year old. "Santa is real and he makes his toys in the factory!"
"That's right, little D! He does!"
And then, I change the subject as quickly as I can because I feel guilty that I'm lying to my baby boy, and I feel guilty that I'm not insisting that Santa is real to my oldest son. I think my six year old still sort of maybe believes in Santa, but I can't be certain.
As a mom, I sometimes feel guilty when I am knowingly lying to my children, even though I know it's not going to damage them later in life.
"There is no more chocolate in this house. Yes, I'm serious!"
"You realize that Santa is watching, right? You better behave!"
"If you don't stop complaining, I will return that toy I just bought you!"
"See the police station over there? You have two minutes to stop fighting or else..."
"If you swallow your gum, it'll stay in your stomach for seven years!"
The Santa lie, though? I have a really hard time with that one. Because I actually feel bad that I'm making my children believe in something that is completely untrue.
And yes, I have seen Elf a hundred times, and I love it. And it almost makes me believe... but not quite. (And if you're real, Santa? I want keys to a condo in South Florida. Thanks!)
For now, though, at least this year, for my six year old? There will be a gift from Santa for him, under our Christmas tree, like every other year, right next to his brother's.
After all... Christmas is kind of magical, isn't it? And I guess this is one little white lie I'll try to keep up until I can't anymore.