Dancing the Santa shuffle already
My parents sat the three of us down one summer day and matter-of-factly explained it. I was stunned. Later, I felt sorry for my brother and sister, who were only 7 and 6 at the time, because they should have had a few more good years. I guess the folks figured I'd spill the beans to them. They might have been right.
I'm beginning to wonder if Big Guy will make it even to 6. Especially after the questions he's asking this year.
It's a dilemma for me, because I don't lie to the guys. Not often, at least, and only when the lie is something as innocuous such as Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Though some parents disagree, I don't see this as a big trust issue down the road.
But, sheesh, I'd like to at least for the Tooth Fairy to visit before her cover's blown. Right now, Big Guy could be teetering, and he still has a full set of chompers.
Which is why my footwork was fancier than Astaire and Hines combined last night at Big Guy's school.
It was the Parent-Teacher Association's annual holiday night -- an evening of crafts, pizza and Claus at $5 a kid. The price was so appealing in this economy that they had to order more pizza. Twice.
I suppose by the time you're 44, if you've seen one Santa you've seen them all. I didn't notice much difference between the one at his grade school last night and the one he'd seen every previous year of his life at his preschool.
Oh, but Big Guy did.
"Santa doesn't look the same, Mom," he said as soon as he got a visual on Claus. "He's skinny."
"Maybe he's lost weight."
"His beard's not right either. Is that beard even real?"
Dang it. Why did he even think to ask? Fortunately, it was. "I guess you'll be able to figure that out when we get closer."
Note that at no point was I actually lying. I was simply avoiding his questions. I didn't say "It depends on what your definition of Santa is," but I was close.
The closer we got, the faster the questions flew.
"Why don't his hat and jacket don't match. Something's wrong."
Channeling Mr. Blackwell now, are we?
He was right -- the hat was running toward burgundy while the suit was cherry red. But really, kid, you're 5. You're supposed to gloss over these things. I'm amazed he didn't also notice that the fur trim on this year's Santa's suit was 75 percent less furry.
By then he was almost face-to-face with the man and voluntary suspension of disbelief kicked back in. He got uncharacteristically flustered as he tried to remember the lengthy list of things he wanted under the tree, mentioning only the Batman skateboard.
Perfect. Santa's too skinny, has a bad beard and can't properly match shades of red. By the time he blows Big Guy off on the skateboard, it's going to be all over.
I understand now why so many parents to go such lengths to preserve the myth as long as possible. It's not so much for the child as it is for the parent. Keeping them believing keeps them innocent and close to your side emotionally.
I know I'll want to hang on, too, but there's only so far I'm willing to go. If he asks me point-blank, I'll have to tell him.
Why does childhood have to zoom by so quickly?
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.