Yes, Virginia…


This post is a part of Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts.  This week’s prompts are here and I chose “Describe a moment where you or your child lost a part of childhood (realizing Santa isn’t real, etc.)”

When I was about five or six years old, I was lying awake one Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep. And I heard my mom on the phone with her twin sister. I will always remember what it felt like to hear those words: “Ray is putting together Gina’s Barbie Townhouse.” And at that moment, I knew. I spent the rest of my childhood not believing. And you know what? That was sad.

I never told my parents I heard – I was afraid I’d get in trouble for being awake that late, so for years they thought I believed when I didn’t. The Christmas season was stressful for me. Adults always like to ask kids about Santa – Is he coming? What is he bringing? Have you seen him yet? And every one of those questions made me feel awful. And Christmas mornings? Oh MAN, they were tough. My parents could never understand why I didn’t jump excitedly out of bed like most kids. They would have to wake me up and practically drag me downstairs.

Most of the discomfort came from the pretending, rather than the lack of Santa, but not all. I was disappointed that he wasn’t real. And I always felt a little left out of the excitement and anticipation that the other kids felt about Santa. The fact is (for me at least) a Christmas without Santa is a Christmas without magic. And I like my Christmases magical.

So, when it came time to have kids of my own, I knew I wanted to make sure their Christmases were magical, and that meant seeing to it that Santa was real to them for as long as they were willing to believe. So I had my first child and Christmas was magical again. My son believed longer than I actually expected him to, and every year I waited for the inevitable.

Then, finally it came – The Talk.  No, not that Talk, the other Talk. The Santa Talk. To be honest, the year before, I really wasn’t sure that he believed. I figured he was just keeping quiet about it just in case. He had asked me once if Santa was real, and I gave him the “what do you think?” He said yes, so I said yes and that was that.

Then the next year, about a month before Christmas, he asked again and we had basically the same exchange, but it became clear that he was doubting things a bit. Then, maybe a week later, after everyone else had gone to bed, he came out and asked me again. I tried the “what do you think” response again, but he looked me right in the eye and said, “Mom, I really want to know. I need you to tell me the truth.” And I had to. And it broke my heart into a million little Christmas shaped pieces. I mean, I knew he wouldn’t believe forever, and I didn’t want him to be the kid who got teased for believing, but it’s so hard to let go.

I explained the origins of St. Nicholas, and gave him the spiel about the spirit and magic of Christmas. And I think there was a little part of him that was relieved. But the other part? The little boy who was growing up way too fast for my liking? That part cried. I don’t think it was disappointment as much as it was the finality of it – the end of the magic. But whatever the reason, he cried his heart out and said he wished he never asked, and the million little Christmas shaped pieces of my heart broke into a million more.


About sugarmag

Forty-sdjhfkjsdhfkjsdh year old mom of 2 - a 18 year old boy and a 11 year old girl. I love them very much, but they drive me crazy. I'm married and work full-time. I'm not sure which of these is the most exhausting, but probably the husband. I'm opinionated. I'm outspoken. I'm loud. I'm an over-sharer. I think Tom Cruise is a jackass. I like to say jackass. I like to swear, period. Fuckers. I love to read. I struggle with my weight. I love my job. I dress my pets up and ridicule them regularly. I am not afraid to cut my hair and I don't understand people who are. I hate getting old. I love to laugh. Make me laugh, OK?

8 responses »

  1. I’m in the same boat. Have started hearing little rumblings questions when comparison made from what Santa brought bff to what mine received. I know the story isn’t the real deal but the magic exists not for me unless someone wants to be my Santa like I hear happens, but people do the magical and give for those who sont have. We’re all Santa. He can keep the big belly though.

  2. Oh, my gosh. For him to say he wished he had never asked! That truly is heart breaking. But what could you do when he said he needed the truth? I feel for you. That was a no win situation!

  3. Oh, that is SO sad! But you did what you had to do. Poor little guy, though!

    My kids still won’t admit that they don’t believe, though I’m pretty sure my 10yo is way over it – I think he thinks that admitting he doesn’t believe in Santa will mean he gets fewer presents. 😉

  4. Those pictures are the cutest ever! I am dreading how to approach the whole santa debacle. My four year old is starting to ask a lot of questions about a lot of things. So I know it’s coming…

  5. so sad–I wonder why we lie to them in the first place. I tried to soften it by having one small gift from Santa and the rest of the gifts were from dad and mom. After my kids quit believing I let them be Santa so that made Christmas Night exciting for them again. They would help me with the shopping and wrapping and the setting up for those that still believed was always a lot of fun for all of us. One of my daughters would write a letter to my youngest from “Santa’s elf” and leave it on her bed. I thought that was very sweet. When we were left to three teenagers at home I would do the shopping and wrapping and then before they went to bed they would set their own gifts out. I also tried to shake things up by sending them on treasure hunts, solving puzzles and one year Mr. J and I stole their christmas after they set it out and when they got up in the morning–no parents and no Christmas. That was a lot of fun too. Christmas can still be fun if they don’t believe.

    • I have no problem with the “lie” – and I know my kids don’t either. I know that some kids have had reactions of “You lied!” but my son was just sad that that part of it was over. What softened the blow (for me at least) was that my daughter is much younger than him and she still believed. Since she is my last, it will be even harder (again, for me) when her turn comes!

  6. I have always loved Santa and the magic of Christmas, and I totally understand what you’re going through. My 7-year-old has given it up this year and NO TEARS. She didn’t cry at all! I’m a little worried she’s heartless now. 😉

    However, we do have a deal: She cannot tell her sister or brother that there is no Santa, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy. If she does, she’s getting coal — in her stocking, Easter basket, and under her pillow!

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