Ahhh...Christmas - a holiday about Jesus. In fact, Maddie, age six, said to me today as we were doing math, that she loves Jesus and is so relieved that after he died he came back to life! You might be wondering why she thought of Jesus during math. The plus sign, of course, looks just like a cross. In any case, it is a holiday about Jesus, but made so much better by Santa! He is really just a reminder of the spirit of giving, but our brilliant marketers have taken it to another level. And this has paid off big time for parents. We started to threaten about the naughty and nice list this year immediately following October. It brought two months of good behavior and two months of pondering Santa's involvement in the intricacies of North Pole toy development and construction. I can not believe I didn't think to record those deliberations.
I have been asked on numerous occasions, by numerous friends, "When are you going to tell your kids the truth?" with a special emphasis on Izzy as she is almost 8 and a true believer in all that is magic. Most people are alluding to the mermaids, etc, but we did have a conversation recently about atheism. I never considered that a child might not have a heaven to believe in. For my children, this strikes me as particularly sad. One night, when I was putting Isabel down she hugged me super hard and said, "I love you so, so much more then you can imagine. I hope I die before you and I will wait for you in heaven." Can you believe that? A seven year old. Well, a hundred year old trapped in a seven year old cutie's body.
Izzy has come home so many times telling me that someone on the bus told her she is wrong about her belief in this or that. Her motto is, "If you believe, Mommy, I believe, no matter what anyone says. Do you believe?" "I think it doesn't matter what I believe. What you believe for yourself is most important." It's the best I can do. Am I the one that shuts down childhood for her? It is a one way trip, after all. Can you remember the moment when you realized that your parents had first names and were individual people? Or that teachers don't actually live at school? I remember the realization Santa looked remarkably like my friend's dad...who was oddly not present for our Christmas Eve celebration. I was in the living room of our small apartment in Germany. We had just seen the first star come out through the tall, paned windows. The room was dimly lit by candles and twinkling Christmas tree lights. There was a hum of chatter and congregation of littles, treats, and homemade eggnog. It was such a beautiful, warm memory...until I sat on his lap. Wait, something is not right. This is not the real Santa. "Is this Mr Roman?" I asked. CIA style, I was swept off Roman's lap and ushered to the back of the crowd where my mom, in panic, was trying to reassuring me I was nuts. It changed my reality. I was five.
The other side has never been as pretty. And until I become (more) demented decades from now (honey - no comment for you!), I will not get to really enjoy magic again. From minute to minute at home, there may be a ghost, a monster. Everything is fun. So I join in, I indulge, trying to avoid the inevitable for a moment more. And I am still alright with that.