At the dinner table, Kiddo#2 said, “I don’t think there’s really a Santa.” She laughed nervously. “I think it’s Mom and Dad!”
This was a month ago. I looked at her, puzzled, and said, “Huh?”
She said, “I think you guys buy the presents!”
It’s about time she’ll figure it all out, of course, but Kiddo#3 was right there, so I asked a few more generic questions and let the conversation change course naturally.
She brought it up again a couple days later, and I asked her what she thought. She told me she isn’t sure.
I asked her why she thought Santa might not exist. “Because it would be impossible to go around the world overnight to give everyone a present.”
Sounds logical, I said. I asked her why she thought Santa might. “Because,” she said, “in order to leave presents, you and Dad would have to get up in the middle of the night, and you’d never do that!”
Clearly she has no idea what life is like with a newborn. But I digress.
The thing is, she knows and at the same time, she’s not ready to give it up. She genuinely likes the fantasy, and at the same time, I suspects she realizes that confirming what she “knows” would make her less a child.
She did write a letter to Santa this year. She wrote that she wanted a yo-yo and “a horse just like the one I drew at the bottom,” and painted a picture of a brown horse. I deposited it into the Post Offal box for just such a purpose, and Santa wrote back a note with a candy cane attached.
“Mom,” she breathed in an awed hush, “Santa says he knows how hard I’ve been trying to be good.”
And, ever the forensics expert, she pointed to the bottom of the note. “This is Santa’s handwriting.”
The handwriting’s on the wall, Santa’s or otherwise: this is her last Christmas as a bright-eyed innocent. Next year, she’ll be helping convince Kiddos#3 and #4 that an amusement-loving philanthropist owns flying reindeer. For this year, however, she’s holding on with snowflakes in her heart and a candy-cane clutched in her hand, knowing someone’s proud of how hard she’s trying to be good.