I think we all remember the exact day and surrounding circumstances when we found out the one thing we prayed wasn’t’ true; Santa Claus isn’t real. Oh the heartbreak! I was in 3rd grade and sleeping in the loft of my childhood home. My four sisters and I had the entire upper floor to ourselves; my twin sisters (2 sets) slept in double beds in the main part of the room and I slept in the single bed, positioned under Cape Cod windows overlooking the main road. That Christmas Eve, our family attended the special Advent by Candlelight service at Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc. Traditionally, we had to get to bed immediately when we arrived home, so that Santa could deliver our presents. I had decided, ‘Tonight was the night I was going to SEE SANTA!’
I pretended to go to sleep and, when I was sure everyone else was sleeping, I sat up and watched out the windows above my bed. I waited and waited. Quietly patting my face to stay awake so that I could finally see Santa.
And then it happened!
I heard the familiar “HO! HO! HO!” downstairs!! I flew out of my bed and practically made it down the flight of stairs in one giant leap! Looking into the living room where the family tree peacefully stood lit so beautifully in the dark night, I saw my dad and mom sitting on the couch admiring their wonderful work! I ran to them and cried for what seemed like hours.
My parents tried to explain that it really was Santa, that they had heard the same “HO! HO! HO!” and tried to see him as well. I knew in my heart that they were just trying to make me feel better. Although I was the last of my seven siblings to learn the awful truth, I survived. Somehow, I felt more ‘grown-up’ at the expense of losing a bit of my childhood innocence. In a way, discovering the truth is a Rite of Passage for children.
Now I have 3 children of my own who are far too old to still believe. But I continue to hide their presents and wait to put them under the tree until they are sleeping. There is something so wonderful seeing the excitement in their eyes when they wake on Christmas morning.
So while it may seem like a hassle to continue the Santa charade, I think as moms, who may have that little girl who still believes inside of her, we are more than willing to do whatever it takes to prolong our children’s innocence.
Merry Christmas and God Bless Your Family this Holiday Season!