Whist I did leave it all rather up in the air last time I’m not actually going to talk about moving in this post, ( soon I promise), because something rather momentous happened today and I feel it should be documented.
Today was the day when the magic dimmed a little.
Today was the day when one of the last great childhood myths was unveiled for the sham that it is, and today was the day that my small one left another tiny piece of her childhood behind her.
Today she asked for the truth about Santa.*
*Warning – contains spoilers.
Yes I know it’s the middle of June ( although the recent weather suggests a more festive time of year), and we shouldn’t really be discussing the ‘c-word’ just yet, but if I ever truly figure out how the mind of a child works I’ll be sure and let you know.
It’s a moment I have been dreading if I’m being honest with you. We have tried so hard ( and been so devious) at maintaining the magic for her that I felt a real and genuine fear that she would be crushed when the inevitable truths came to light.
We have, in all honesty, been blessed that it has lasted so long. One of the advantages of growing up as an only child in a small rural community is that you can maintain the innocence of childhood for far longer than you can if you have to teach your child to be street smart and worldly wise in a more urban setting.
But today she left a little of that innocence behind her.
It came out of nowhere, we were just sitting together watching some kids tv when she quietly started telling me that some of the other kids in the school didn’t actually believe in Father Christmas……
” they just say that it’s the parents that bring Santas presents, but that can’t really be true can it?”
I may have just left that question hanging in the air for a moment or two.
” because how could you get the exactly the right present and get it here on Christmas eve when I’m asleep? ”
Oh my child, if only you knew the blood, sweat, tears and schemes that your father and I have lost sleep for over the last 5 years to make sure that it happened just the way you believed it would. Not to mention the postal charges. There have been internationally co-ordinated operations that NATO would have been proud of, just to see that look of wonder on your face.
“mum………….please will you tell me the truth?”
For a split second my I wanted to turn to her and yell at the top of my voice “The truth? You can’t handle the truth.”, but thankfully my brain was in charge of my mouth for once and I reined in my inner Jack Nicholson and the sensible parent came out instead.
Part of me wanted to dismiss her concerns, but there comes a point when you have to weigh up continuing the myth for your own selfish ends, versus the inevitable teasing in the playground that she was sure to endure if we carried it on. She had looked me in the eye asked me directly for the truth, and that’s what she was going to get, however much she really didn’t want to hear it.
And so I explained that it really IS the parents who get the presents and put them under the tree, and that although ‘santa’ didn’t really exist, that a long time ago there once was a man called Nicholas who really did give the good children in his village a present at Christmas-time. And this is where the story of ‘Santa’ began.
” And if you are a good girl Daddy and I will still get you you a present from Santa each year. After all I still get mine.”
And whilst father christmas’ handwriting bears a remarkable similarity to my mothers, I still like to think it’s because I’ve been good (ish).
She sat for a while and took this all in. I think in her heart-of -hearts she already knew that we had been pulling the wool over her eyes for some time now, and was just seeking confirmation. I was hoping that she wouldn’t take the news that her parents have been habitually lying to her during her formative years too badly.
Thankfully she didn’t and after much deep thought she quietly asked if it was ok to still pretend it was true because. ” even though I know it’s really not real now, I think I’d miss it too much if it all just stopped “.
“And I really don’t want to talk about it anymore thank-you”.
With a massive sigh of relief I told her that this would be just fine by us and we had a nice little hug and grinned at each other, now complicit in the Yuletide subterfuge.
So all my fears had come to nothing, small person took it all in her stride and the blame and scorn I was expecting to have heaped upon me had not arrived.
But suddenly her eyes narrowed and the smile disappeared. There was an edge of deep suspicion to her next and final question on the subject….
“So who ate his mince pie?…. And the biscuits we made the year before?”
Quick as a flash I replied;
“Daddy. Daddy ate them.”
Well, not EVERY truth about Christmas needs to be told.