Thursday, December 8, 2011


"What are you looking at?" Rudy asked her angrily. He was in a mood. And not a good one.

Elizabeth continued to look at him. Her mouth hung open. She said not a word in answer to what seemed a ridiculous question.

Ten minutes before Rudy's interruption, Elizabeth held up a receipt she had found while milling in my things. "Aren't these the toys I got for Christmas? And Roberto's, too?" she inquired.

She was 5 years old. And wise beyond her years.

Uh oh I thought.

"Um. Well," I tried.
"It's just that it looks like everything we got." Elizabeth had a knack for decoding and understanding written language. "Is DAD Santa?" she asked. She just wanted an honest answer.
"Well," I attempted again. I knew the value of telling the truth. I hated to take the magic away from her, but I also knew she trusted me to be honest with her. "Yes. Dad is Santa. We bought, wrapped, and surprised you and Roberto with your Christmas gifts."

That's when Rudy forced the bedroom door open. His angry face was nowhere near the image of white bearded Santa. He stormed back out. Elizabeth's mouth continued to hang open.

I hugged her small frame.

A piece of innocence lost. For a little girl.

Roberto hung on to Santa until he was 10 years old. He refused to believe the other kids at school claiming, "Santa is fake!". Roberto just knew Santa was real. There was no way he wasn't. Yet, the more he heard kids shouting "fake!" the more he wondered if they were right and he was wrong.

"Mom, is Santa real?" he asked me one day.
"What do you think?" I quizzed.
"I still believe he is real, but a lot of kids are saying he's not."
"Follow your heart," I encouraged him.

Days, weeks, or months later, the kids and I were at the mall. Shopping for nothing in particular. Just an average day. Probably a day in the spring. "Humph. I didn't get the makeup I wanted from the Easter Bunny," Elizabeth began.
"Well, I.... I mean, the Easter Bunny," I started, trying to cover my mistake.
"What!" Roberto yelled. "I knew it! There is no Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or even the Tooth-Fairy, is there?"

An open conversation ensued as we continued to walk around the mall. Like Elizabeth, Roberto appreciated being told the truth.

Another piece of innocence lost. For the middle child. Our oldest boy.

Years later, as I was relaxing reading on the bed in my room, Bradford slowly walked in. He was 6 or 7 years old.

"Mom, just tell me the truth. Don't lie to me. Is Santa Claus real?" He was looking down at his hands, wringing them together.
"You sure you want to know?" I asked, knowing he already knew the answer.

He looked at me. A single tear rolled down his cheek.
"Yes. I want to know."
"Santa is not real. He is the spirit of Christmas. The magic," I said. I didn't want him to lose the joy of the holiday. The excitement.

He ran out of my room, back to his own room. To cry. To let the tears wash away his sadness. Not long after, he ran back into my room, plopped his upper body onto my bed, legs dangling off the edge, and looked directly into my eyes. "Does that mean the Easter Bunny isn't real either?!"

"Yeah, sorry. Not real," is all I could think to say.

"Elizabeth and Roberto know?" he questioned.
"Yep. They didn't want to spoil it for you. Wanted you to enjoy the idea," I told him.
"So, now I will have to keep it a secret? So little kids can still have fun," he quietly mumbled.
"Uh huh," I answered, knowing he didn't want to be treated like a baby.

A piece of innocence lost. For the last child in our family.

GBE2 contribution :D


  1. That's sad but very truthful. I'm sure they'll still enjoy the magic of Christmas.

  2. I so hated when my kids stopped believing! Santa was so much fun! Sorry your Santa days are over. But the Christmas magic lives forever.

  3. Aww, I remember some very similar conversations at my house. When our oldest found out, it was shortly before Easter. My hubby and I left her little siblings with a friend and took her along when we bought the basket goodies. We let her help choose everything and then let her stay up a little late the night before Easter to help us put everything together for the three of them to find in the morning. It became one of my favorite holidays ever.

  4. I don't even remember how we told our daughters the truth about Santa, but if it was such a non-event in my life, we must have done something like my mother did.
    She never said yes or no. She just explained what Santa IS. He is the spirit of Christmas, special for little children. He is the love we show one another because we want to.
    I eventually came to realize that meant he wasn't real in the way I thought he was when I was five or six, but still real in a much more important way. My mom could be pretty cool when she set her mind to it.

  5. Santa is a feeling we still enjoy around our home....... Happy holidays!

  6. Well done mom! I told mine Santa was the spirit of Christmas too when they were ready. But it is hard to see those days slip away : )

  7. That is such a sad time in life when they learn the truth. It's like a special part of their childhood is gone. Great post.

  8. What a wonderful post. I've never told my kids that Santa was real or that Santa wasn't real. (my kids are 5-15). When asked I've always smiled and just said, "Has Santa come for you each and every year?" "Yes" "Hasn't Santa always been good to you?" "Yes" "So why would you stop believing in such a good thing?" "I just want to know if he's real Mom!" "ALL I can tell you is if you don't believe you don't receive." And I left it at that. Amazingly my older kids are really good about not divulging that Santa isn't real to my younger kids--and who knows maybe somewhere deep down they still believe!! (or not). Lovely of you to share, Jenn

  9. A great post! I always said If you dont believe you dont receive. My way of trying to drain that last ounce of spirit for the festive season. Thanks for sharing. Cheers SpecialK XoXo