Santa’s pushing up daisies tonight
March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
Out of the blue, Layla asks: “Mom, now we’re talking honestly here. Is Father Christmas real or not?”
She’s just turned 9, and has been asking the question since before last Christmas, but has seemed unwilling to give up the story completely – although I suspect she suspected – we played along with each other. For each other’s sake.
I’m not really sure if she’s too old for it or what – it’s just what she wanted, it made her happy to believe. it made us happy.
It’s what you do. With Conor it was different. One year he believed. One year he didn’t but pretended he did, and the next year, it was somehow all out in the open. No big discussion. No discussion at all.
Layla, she needs answers. From me. Half-truths and nudge-nudge-wink-wink will not be tolerated. Facts. She needs them and means to have them even if it hurts a bit.
I tried to um and ah my way out of it. I’m not ready to let go.
“Well, what do YOU think?” and “Does it matter if it’s real or not?” and “What do YOU want the answer to be?” and eventually, withering under her stern 9 year old evil eye – just squirmy silence. Sheepish. Baaaa.
“Why are you making that face, mom?”
(What face?, I think of asking, but don’t. I can feel my pursed lips and twitching eye. My fibbing face. She clearly knows what she’s looking at)
“i just want to know what’s been going on all these years. Is it you who brings the presents?”
Squirm. Silently. Baaaa.
She’s holding my face now – no escape.
Try one more tack.
“Theoretically, how’d you feel if it WASN’T real?”, I ask.
“A little bit disappointed”. More silence from me as I contemplate breaking her heart. Impatient now, she barks at me.
“Come on, it’s not that hard! Just yes or no!”
And that’s it. There we go. The end.
I can’t lie. Not like this.
“It’s me. I’m sorry”
“Oh, okay. Hmm.”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m a little bit sad. But I will have forgotten about it tomorrow”
She hasn’t forgotten, I don’t imagine. In our house, Christmas after Santa becomes something different, no less magical or fun, just in a new way. I hope she feels the same.