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Feeling the magic – for at least one more year

Submitted by on Thursday, 9 December 2010 One Comment

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” The Polar Express

There is no magic, the ever-realistic Big Guy declared recently over breakfast.

Is too, asserted his head-in-the-clouds brother.

No there isn’t, Big Guy countered. Remember the magician at the library that time? He was totally fake.

What about Santa, Boots challenged.

For once Boots had stopped his brother cold. “OK, so there is Santa magic. And the Easter bunny. And fairies. But that’s it.”

I started to chuckle, but then I wondered how a similar conversation would play out a year from now. It was between second and third grade that I “found out” about Santa. The parents called the only family meeting I ever recall us having and explained it to us on a hot summer day.

Big Guy is probably close to as clueless as I was, in part because he goes to a kindergarten-through-second-grade school. There are no older kids there to taunt him with their new-found knowledge, though despite that Big Guy did blurt out last month that he doesn’t believe in Santa and no one can make him.

He quickly recovered, though,by the first time we watched “The Polar Express” this year. It’s the guys’ holiday favorite, and I’m sure that has something to do with the fact that “Santa” left sleigh bells on our front stoop last Christmas Eve.

“Look, Momma! The box Billy’s present is in is just like the one Santa put my bell in,” Big Guy said recently, his eyes wide. “It must be a real bell from Santa!”

“It must be,” I said.

Note to the guys’ future shrink: I did not definitively state that it was indeed a real bell from Santa. I merely let the misconception stand. I think that’s called a “lie of omission,” in contrast to last year’s “lie of commission” that occurred as I crept through the garage on my way to depositing the red and green box on the stoop. If you press the point, though, I will insist that I was agreeing with the “real bell” part of the sentence, not with the “from Santa” clause.

And of course I felt gut-knottingly guilty at the way his eyes sparkled and his face glowed as he basked in the knowledge that he was important enough to Santa for the jolly old elf to take time out of his hectic Christmas Eve to stop by.

My only consolation is that it all plays into my plan for when he eventually discovers the truth. Christmas isn’t about Santa or presents. It’s about something you can hold in your heart long after your mind lets go of Santa. I’ve been conscious since the day I bought the first part of their Little People nativity scene that I would eventually need to transition them toward that concept.

Big Guy, you were right. There is no magic – at least not in the way that you and your brother view it now. But there’s plenty of magic and beauty in the world, as long as you believe there is.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Sandra Foyt said:

    Aww! I’m getting teary eyed reading this post, and missing the days (as recently as last winter) when my kids still believed.