A few weeks back my nine year old twins asked me straight out if Santa was real.
I was very proud of my response. I remembered the text book advice and calmly said, ‘what do you think?”
As I busily patted myself on the back for at least getting one big parenting moment right, I realised they were both giggling.
They looked at each other, giggled some more, rolled their eyes and then Zoe said (in that tone only nine year old girls know how to use)
“Mum… he’s not real, it’s not possible.”
They went on to confess that they’d known the tooth fairy wasn’t real ‘for ages’ because one of them had seen me, but they kept quiet because they still wanted the money! (In my defense I have one daughter who NEVER sleeps, so the tooth fairy gig is not an easy one in this house) Then one thing had led to another, a discussion had ensued and it was decided they’d just come clean and tell me that they knew what was going on.
My former parenting glory diminished somewhat… but since I had always said if they asked me out right about these things that I could not lie to them, I decided it was best to go with it.
So we talked about magic, and believing, and playing along because it is enjoyable and fun, and because, just maybe, something magical (ok not a flying reindeer but something else a little smaller) may happen.
We talked about the ‘magic’ of giving and sharing and how that makes you feel so special. I told them that there are lots of Santas and now they are part of the Santa magic too and that was special and loads of fun.
It was, of course, impressed upon them not to tell others, because everyone believes different things (in terms of religions, fairies and Santas) and that is ok. It is not our place to put our beliefs on to others or tell them they are wrong and it is not our place to talk about what we believe or how we celebrate Santa as it may upset others and that is definitely not part of the magic of Santa.
I guess it had to happen sometime and I’m actually kind of relieved…
No more trying to remember which wrapping paper is Santa’s and not wrapping any non-Santa gifts in it. No more trying to dodge questions about whether the Santa at the shops is the ‘real Santa’. Of course our boys still believe (though I suspect Morgan is wavering, he is far too logical) but it’s lovely to have two helpers who are just as enthusiastic about taking part in a little Christmas magic as they ever were.
But it is bittersweet… my girls are growing up, whether I like it or not.
Is Santa ‘real life’ in your house?