Sunday, November 11, 2007

Breaking My Heart

There reaches a time in every parent’s life when you realize your children have outgrown some of the traditions and beliefs of their youth. The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa --- they all bite the dust at some point.

Somehow, some way, my kids still believe. I didn’t *think* they did, because their oldest OKC cousin was quick to blab the truth to them a few years back. Perhaps they were still young enough at the time that they chose to believe us over him …. perhaps my kids are just extremely gullible, who knows? But every year since I hold my breath, thinking THIS will be the year they ask the hard questions and discover the truth.

Tonight, almost in passing, Kellen said to me: “Mom, Alexander says there’s no Santa Claus.”

Stalling for time, I couldn’t think of what to say. I mean, he’s NINE, for goodness sake, how much longer do I think I can pull the wool over his eyes? By the same token, I wasn’t about to blurt out the truth if there was any way I could salvage this. So I stalled with, “Um, Alexander who?”

Kellen: “The Alexander in my class”

Kristie: “Oh, um. That’s too bad that he doesn’t believe. {awkward pause} Sooooo, who does he say brings the presents on Christmas morning?”

Kellen: “The parents.”

Kristie: “Wow, that’s so not good. You know the rule, you don’t get presents if you don’t believe, so Alexander must not get much.”

{Stalling again ……. Shit, what do I say now????}

Kristie: “So, Kellen, what do you think about that? About what Alexander said?”

Kellen, “I think he’s got it all wrong. I mean, parents aren’t magical enough to make it to ALL the houses around the world in one night, even if they had their own jet. Only Santa can do that.”

And I just smiled inside and said, “Yep, you’re right. Too bad he doesn’t get it.”

And while part of me was thrilled to know he hadn’t talked himself out of believing, another part of my heart just broke for the innocence he’s destined to lose someday.

(weep)

25 comments:

jbaj said...

Kristie there is hope! My 2 oldest believed until they were 13! And they and their cousins made a pact that THEY weren't going to spill the beans to the younger cousins.

My youngest is 6 so we will see how long he can go...

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine said tonight, she is considering telling her kids the truth!! I told her NO WAY! She is crazy, and better not do it. Keep them innocent as long as you can - they aren't kids for long.....
p.s. do you also justifying buying more, in case it is the last year?? :)
trish

Anonymous said...

When my husband's goddaughter told us she was thinking Santa may not be real we told her that people who don't believe only get socks for Christmas. Well, Christmas Eve came and she assured us that she still believed. The next day at the family dinner she found out that most everyone except herself had received socks. "OOOOHHHHHH!" she exclaimed, "you guys don't believe in Santa!!! I'm glad I still believe!" haha! here's to innocence!

Trish
Leesburg, VA

Anonymous said...

My nine year old was also told last year that is was the parents - to which she responded "There is NO WAY MY PARENTS would buy all that stuff for me!". I laughed on the inside and said that she was EXACTLY right! Keep them innocent as long as possible!

Rhonda in Texas

Anonymous said...

My son told his sister that there had to be a Santa because Mom and Dad surely didn't have enough money to pay for all those neat gifts. It's so hard and sad when they no longer believe in Santa.

Anonymous said...

My 8.5 year old has been questioning me a lot lately over the existence of Santa. Last year it seems a lot of her friends quit believing and she just didn't know what to think. I think I've solved it for a while longer though because last time she asked, I said, "Yeah, right! Like I would ever buy you that many presents." Short pause, and then, "You're definitely not that nice, so Santa has to be real." It works for me :-) The longer they believe, the better is my motto.

Amie in UT

Anonymous said...

About 5 or 6 yrs. ago my sister found out that my grandparents (who are now 84 and 85 yrs. old) had never had a Christmas stocking in their lives. They both grew up during the depression and were lucky if they even got one thing for all the kids to share. That yr. my sister got them each a nice embroidered stocking with their name on it and we started the tradition of all buying little things to put in everyone's stocking. My sister is the youngest of the group at 29, so obviously we all know there is no Santa. However, we chose to celebrate the spirit of Santa and what he symbolizes. It's a lot of fun when we all sit around together Christmas morning and see what we got in our stockings. :)

Stephanie in MN

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, we have the same situation around here. My oldest is 10 and he questioned it last year because some of his friends have never had the Santa thing at their house. (Can you imagine NEVER having Santa?) Anyway, like you, I was stumped for a reply. I also didn't want to tell him the truth in front of his little sister. She still has many years of believing ahead of her. I asked him what he told his friend and he said "I told him that you guys didn't have enough money to buy all the things Santa brings me!". Gotta love a child's reasoning huh? ;-)

Gin in Georgia

Connie F-G said...

Stephanie, I'm with you...Santa is about the spirit of giving. Our daughter noticed at a very young age that all mall and party Santa's were different so we talked then about helpers because Santa gets pretty busy this time of year.

Many of her friends don't believe and for awhile this year she wasn't going to but this fall has decided that she still does believe and we talked about that Spirit of Santa...she's 11. Stockings are the best part and if you don't believe you don't receive!

The loss of innocence today makes me sad because it happens so young.

Thanks for opening up this conversation Kristie. It's nice to hear how others handle it.

Hugs,

Anonymous said...

The daughter of a friend of mine was questioning Santa when she was about 9. She said people at school were saying it's your parents. My friend told her "Well, that would be right because Santa doesn't bring gifts to the ones who don't believe, so for those kids it IS their parents!"

I love'd it! I've got a 5 year old so I hopefully have a few more years but I'm prepared when I get questioned!

jadine said...

My oldest son came home from school at the age of 10, saying that a kid told him the same thing. I said what you said, he continued to look skeptical, and I then told him the truth --- but not to tell his little brother.

He. Was. Crushed.

For the next couple days, he'd come up to me and say, "You mean there's no Easter Bunny?", "No Tooth-fairy?"...it was awful.

But to me, it was better to have him know at that point (given his age, and the age of his peers), than to have his friends scoff at him :(

The time comes for everyone, I guess, and I should be glad he got to enjoy believing until he was 10.

RM in MA said...

Kristie,
Wanted to wish you the best this week with you move. Having moved many times in my adult life I can say that there is a fun sense of adventure attached but the unpacking is the harsh and hard reality along with getting everyone adjusted to their new environment. We will look forward to hearing tales of the move.

Funny and sad story about the "believing" in Santa. I really mourned when my children stopped believing; to me it signaled a passage from innocence. My daughter announced that she did not believe in Santa when she was seven. How could one man, albeit with the help of a couple hundred elves, produce all those toys and deliver them to children all around the world in just one night? Heck, just reading her annual letter that she left him pleading for him to overlook any wrongdoings must have taken 15 minutes alone. When she was done with her diatribe about why it seemed so absurd that one man could do all this she pondered for a moment and then announced that she might still believe in the Easter Bunny. Nope, nothing ridiculous there, an oversized rabbit breaking in to houses all over the world to deliver candy. She needed to cling to some sense of belief in the stable of innocence.

Good Luck!!!!

Lorianne said...

9 wow...you are on borrowed time! My kids are 13, 12 and 9 and they have not believed for 3 years now! You are lucky!

The Running Girl said...

We are pretty sure my daughter knows. Nothing has been said, but we have our suspicions, just like she has hers. But we always say (just like you) - If you don't believe, you don't get any gifts. As an adult, I still believe :) I don't think my 9 year old son cares one way or another - just so there are gifts under the tree.
Briana

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Kristie--- that's wonderful that Kellen still believes. As the youngest of five children, I stopped believing in Santa at about 7. However, my mom still proudly tells about how I believed until I was 12. I haven't told her otherwise.

M said...

Derek believed until he was 12...or was it 13! I dont know which it was, but he was dang old to still believe. Then again I believed until I was 12 too....
While it IS sad that that "magic" is gone, I was relieved that I didnt have to play the charade anymore and have to decide what gifts to give from Santa and what to give from Mom.
M

Anonymous said...

I just have to add this. I have a 14 yr old girl who still believes. Because i am like you, you have to believe to receive! I have followed your site for a long time and never, ever signed it. Please know that you are thought of alot and i love reading your site.

M, Ms. R, Mom, Auntie M, Marey said...

...Santa, of course there is! ...but that damn Halloween Book Fairy has got to go!

Anonymous said...

Don't tell them! The sadness of finding out the truth is matched by the joy of figuring out that you're smart enough and old enough to have joined the "adult" world. It's a rite of passage.

Dixie in CA

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie: My son started asking if Santa was real last year when he was nine. I asked him if he really wanted to know the truth and he looked at me and said "I'll ask you again after Christmas".

Anonymous said...

When I was young we didn't have much but every Christmas Eve there would be a knock at our door & there on the porch would be a new doll with my name on it, a special gift from Santa. Every year when my boys would be opening the many gifts they would receive I would always tell them my story knowing they must be thinking yea okay Mom we know.

One christmas Eve when my boys were about 13 & 15 there was a knock on our door and sure enough there was a beautiful doll with my name on it. My boys said see Mom there really is a Santa.

I lost my yougest to cancer when he was 18 but he and his brother gave me such a wonderful Christmas lesson that Santa is always around & you never know when he is going to surprise you with just the perfect gift.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Kristie, there really is a Santa. When you get older, he just helps in different ways.
I know this to be true because one year, a long time ago, my oldest son wanted a telescope. Of course, "I" did not have the money for one. I went to the JCPenney outlet store to do some Christmas shopping and was walking up and down the aisles, to see what I could afford. On one aisle, there were lots of brown boxes and I was checking each one to see what they had in them. I heard a commontion at the end of the aisle, like someone had just put a box back on the shelf. I did not see anyone around, but noticed a new box on the bottom shelf.
I went over to look at it, and you will not believe, it was a telescope! I was afraid to see the price, because it looked like one for over $50. The price said $9.99. I took it over to the sales clerk, thinking it must have meant to be $59.99 and asked him to check it. He came back and said it was really $9.99!
I said a prayer, thanking God, and Santa! We had a great Christmas that year!
Have a safe trip back to OK!!
We will miss you!!
Lots of hugs..........Gina Ice
www.caringbridge.org/ga/madieice

Brenda said...

My two oldest kids (12 and 10) both know the real story, but I informed them in no uncertain terms that if they spoil the fun for the 5 year old they miss out on those gifts also, and probably more!! So, they enjoy pretending along and get in to the spirit with the little one.

WendyK said...

I am so glad to hear that my 7 year old is not the only kid over 5 who still believes in santa. I agree, keep them innocent as long as you can.

jgdeegan said...

My 8 1/2 year old still believes...but this is probably the last year. He has had friends tell him that there is no Santa, but so far he hasn't believed them. I have used the same argument many have posted, that if they don't believe Santa doesn't come to their house.