Monday, December 12, 2011

To believe or not to believe?

My son is 8 years old, and as much as I hate to admit it, on the cusp of not believing in Santa Claus anymore.  Friends at school, commercials, movies, and TV programs allude to the reality of this jolly old fellow, but never really reveal the truth.  It only seems to make our children ask us “Is Santa Claus real?”

Now this question is usually asked with big puppy dog eyes and a familiar look on their face - a look of hope.  In the back of their minds, they are thinking “Please let him be real, please let him be real!”  At this very moment in time, we, as mothers, wake up the hamster in the brain to get running.  Come on … I need the right answer!

So there may not be a right answer, but this is how I deal with it:

“What do you believe?”  By asking my son this question, it allows him to evaluate the whole meaning of Christmas and the Christmas spirit.  Ok, not really, but it buys me some time.  I can conjure up no less than 10 options in the Visio in my head while he gives me an answer.  Usually the answer I get is “Yes, I believe.”

But I’m afraid of the day that we must pull the curtain back and reveal our lies, our deceit.  Since we have only one child, we hang on to all that is fictional-characters-that-bring-joy-to-our-child’s-life-by-magic-during-the-night.  Not only this, but Elf on the Shelf has been doing a dandy job of keeping our child in line for the month prior to the big day.  My magical powers for discipline cease to exist in the month prior to Christmas unless I use the Elf or Claus as a bargaining tool.

Seeing my son’s face on Christmas morning when he truly believes a magical creature has come during the night to leave him gifts is priceless.  I usually am looking at this face over a giant mug of coffee from being up all night assembling various toys, but priceless none the less.

Will this go away when he doesn’t believe anymore?  I hope not.  I hope we have magical Christmases every year, and as long as we wake up safe, healthy, and happy all snug in our jammies, this is the perfect prescription to say: “Yes…I believe.”

Janet Fragle works in customer engagement for innovative technology solutions at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

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