Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Santa Question

"Mommy, is Santa real?"

This is the question I have been dreading since RxMan and I decided to pass off the lie that is Santa to Her Highness years ago. I had said as a young person (pre-children, of course) that I wasn't going to do this whole Santa Claus nonsense to my children because it is a lie and I remember being crushed when I discovered my folks putting gifts under our tree as a very young five year old. Of course, that all dissolved. There is just something magical about the idea of a fat elf and some talking reindeer flying around and leaving gifts under your tree, y'know? It is such a fleeting time before they are onto you and demanding to accompany you while you shop in order to get the "right" gifts.

Her Highness is a bit on the sheltered, naive side. Okay, more than a bit. My childhood was neither sheltered nor naive. My parents were young and wild and I was a great deal too worldly and wise at HH's age. I didn't want that for her; I wanted her to have the childhood that I didn't. I mean, don't we all? Isn't that part of being a parent in America? HH believes everything I say. She trusts that I will not lie to her. That is what made this conversation that occurred last night doubly hard. Not only did I have to decide to tell her the truth or not but I was also deciding whether to blatantly lie to her when she will certainly remember and, inevitably, throw it in my face.

So, we were in the car, which is where many questions that make a parent squirm are posed to me, for some reason. We're just riding along, listening to The Conqueror babble and the radio when she asked.

"Mommy, is Santa real?"

Seriously, my stomach fell through the floor and was run over by the SUV following us. How do I answer this? Do I fess up? She's only seven; is that too young to know? Why the hell do I always get these questions? These are just a few of the million things that I thought in that 3 seconds I had to plan my response.

"Well, HH, do you think he's real?" I decide to answer only what she really wants to know because Dr. Phil says not to give them any more info than they request.

"Yes. See, nobody gets up to eat our cookies in the night and they're always gone in the morning and we don't get up in the night to shop and buy presents so how else would they get there?" Aaahh. Isn't she wonderful? Don't you wish you believed in something that wholly and completely?!

"That's right, HH. In our house, Santa is real." So, yes, I decided to perpetuate the lie. I will answer for that someday. I may even have to pay the therapist for that remark someday. "And, honey, if you believe in Santa, he is real. Don't worry about what the other kids think, okay? It only matters what you know is right, okay?"

"Okay, momma." And, that is exactly what she wanted to hear. Pheww. Dodged one there, didn't I?

No comments: