Monday, December 12, 2011

Are you Santa?

The reign of Santa has begun in our house this year.  After a respite of some 8+ years, between the awakening of Taylor to the adult world – and thus the loss of Santa - and the awakening of Bella to the world around her, Santa is back!  Bella is two, so magic is not only very real to her, but it is also quite normal.  It is magically normal that GUM only appears after dinner is over, it is magically normal that her big brother Taylor can pull large balls out of her ears, it is also magically normal that a rather robust older man in a shockingly bright suit would bring her toys and candy if she is good.  No real leap of faith for Bella, her Mother says so, her Father says so and the world about her says so.  Must be true!

But what happens when she learns it is not so.  What happens when her friends at school learn from their older siblings and share this truth with her?  What do we say?  Will she mistrust us?  Will she extrapolate this to other parts of her life?  Will she extrapolate this to God?
You might think, since I have been through the life cycle of Santa with Taylor, that I am a pro at this, that I understand the intricacies of the before, during and after Santa belief for children.  But Taylor was an easy child, he does not even remember when he found out.  He pretty much took it in stride and kept walking.  And maybe Bella will do that too – and Zachary just behind her.  But I still worry that one of them will be the child with the broken heart, the child who feels betrayed or the child that learns to mistrust.
I can tell you it was with great relief that I found this blog from a mom who was busted.  Her child asked her in a note, if she was Santa.  I suspect this gave the mom time to contemplate.  The letter she wrote her daughter in response is perfection itself.  The care for her daughter’s feelings, the regard that she gives for the importance of this event and the wonderful way in which she allows the magic to continue in her daughter’s life is astonishing.  I share this letter with permission from the author.
Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: Are you Santa?

I know youve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and Ive had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

This wont make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they cant see or touch.

Its a big job, and its an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. Youll also need to believe in things you cant measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts hes filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. Im on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.

Thank you  Martha Brokenbrough for allowing me to share this.  For a look at her entire blog entry regarding The Truth About Santa check it out at