The post I was originally going to write this week was about trying to figure out when and if I should tell my kids the truth about Santa. You see my son is nine, almost ten, years old. I know he has his suspicions. But for the sake of both his younger sister and his honest belief in magic, he is able to steamroll over his suspicion and continue believing. But I wonder for how much longer. I wondered if I should wait for him to come to me or choose an age when I come to him?
But before I could finish that post about Santa, Sandy Hook Elementary School happened. As I sat at my computer last Friday reading the horrific events unfold I could hear my daughter’s second grade class at recess at school behind our house.
I cried until I finally got away from the computer and walked over to the school. I popped into my son’s classroom and gave him a hug and a kiss. Then I headed across the small elementary school campus with chills down my spine, a heavy knot in my stomach, and a gallon of tears in my eyes to my daughter’s class. I spent the next hour and half helping out in the classroom. I just needed to be near my kids. I needed to be there.
The rest of the weekend was spent seeing the Nutcracker, going to see a Christmas Story at our local independent movie theater, baking cookies, and making another impromptu trip to see Santa at our local mom & pop toy store. I think I needed to see Santa more than the kids.
Then today I sat down to finish that post about the secret of Santa. But now, I don’t care about when I should tell my kids about Santa. In fact as we watched Santa talk to the kids and smile and hand out candy canes this weekend, I wished with all my soul that I would never have to tell them about Santa. I wished that the magic of Christmas that Santa carries with him could always be there for my kids. For me.
So Santa remains an absolute reality in our house this year. Magic is afoot, reindeer food is being made, and Elves are hard at work. Magic is everywhere. I can’t say what it will be like next year, but this year Santa’s secret remains buried deep within me. My kids won’t be hearing about him from me. I don’t want to tell them, and I won’t.
I am saying lots of prayers for those families in Newtown. Weeping lots of tears for the Christmas magic that has disappeared from those families. I weep for the presents that will never be opened. I weep for the houses Santa won’t visit.
I guess there isn’t really a point to this post. I could try and talk about the need for stricter gun laws, the need for attention to be showered upon the mentally ill and their families. But right now as I watch my kids quietly playing beside the Christmas tree on a December afternoon, all I can think of is to say this:
Hug your kids. Laugh with your kids. And for all that is good in this world fill their Christmas with magic this year. Leave cookies out for Santa, have Santa leave muddy footprints in the living room, and letters for the kids. Make reindeer food and sprinkle it outside before going to bed on Christmas Eve. Read the Night Before Christmas and drink lots of eggnog. Tell them how much YOU believe in Santa, and in your heart allow yourself to believe it to be true.
If ever there was a year where the magic of Christmas was needed, it’s this one.