Thursday, December 09, 2004
The Santa Clause
We set up the Christmas tree last weekend, on Sunday evening (December 5th) after my wife, "The Momma", woke up from her day nap. It was a little more work this year than usual, as we have a very small living room and the corner where we "traditionally" place the tree (the quotes necessary as this is only our second holiday season in this house!) now is home to our 10-gallon fish tank. So first we needed to find the fishies a new home.
An aside on the fishies - We bought these back in May or June. Three small fish, Danio Zebras I think they're called. C picked them out, even though they're not the most "beautiful" fish (though they are quite cute). But he wanted them because of the salesperson's description to us: "They never stop swimming, and they never sleep." That's C' kind of fish! We took three home, and C named them collectively as "Nonstop". Too cool... and a great choice, all three are still with us and seemingly happy (as best fish happiness can be judged).
Anyway, we moved Nonstop into our bedroom and finally got the tree up in its appropriate spot. Very fun, and Christmas had officially arrived.
But I told you that story so I could tell you this one (nod to Bill Cosby there). On Saturday C & I were watching something on TV and there was some reference to Santa Claus. 7-year-old C very calmly told me, "They don't know that Santa Claus isn't real". This was completely of out of the blue, but he's a bright kid so I wasn't completely surprised. Still, it was time to address the issue!
"You don't think Santa Claus is real?"
"No, do you?"
Touche, kid! "I believe that there's a real SPIRIT of Santa Claus, but I think Santa probably isn't a real person."
C found that agreeable, so I pushed a little further.
"Do you see why people LIKE to believe in Santa Claus, and pretend he's real even if it's not true?"
"Yes," said C. Cool, still so far, so good, he's not upset at the Big Conspiracy!
"Me too, I like that people believe in the spirit of giving and of loving people, and that we keep the stories alive." (Or at least, I said something along those lines but equally mushy; you talk that way sometimes with your own kids.)
We left it at that for a few minutes, but then C added, "The one thing I just can't figure out, is where the presents come from!" Oops, more work to do!
"Do you want to know the WHOLE truth about Santa?" I asked him. Of course he said Yes.
I moved over and sat next to him on the couch; it was time for the Big Revelation. "All those presents you get from Santa every year...?"
I whispered, "WE get those for you!"
He broke into a wide-eyed grin and said, "You mean YOU gave me my Payne [video game action] figure last year??"
"Yup," I said. And he threw his arms around me in one of the biggest hugs he'd ever given me.
"Oh thank you thank you sweet Daddy!" he yelled.
Well, THAT milestone of growing up went pretty well! He was delighted to be "part of the club", as it were. Naturally I warned him that he couldn't talk to other kids about it unless THEY broached the subject first, even if they were older than him. But he could talk to other adults about it.
The next evening then as we were decorating the tree I asked if he wanted to tell Momma what we'd talked about. He said "No, let's keep it a surprise!" I told him I was pretty sure The Momma already knew about Santa, but he wanted to save it as a Christmas surprise that HE knew now! Okey-doke. At one point The Momma commented that she hoped Santa would be good to us this year, and C grinned and whispered in my ear, "You WILL, right?"
Then the NEXT day, Monday, The Momma called me at work and told me C needed to talk to me.
"Daddy, do you think it would be okay if I told Momma today about that THING we were talking about?"
It only took me a moment. "You mean about Santa?"
"Yes, I think that's just fine. You decided you wanted to talk to her about it after all?"
"Okay, she'll like that, have fun!"
It was a Good weekend... and we've got a great kid!