Last month, something terrible happened. It was a day I had dreaded, but thought I had months, possibly years before I had to deal with it. A day where childhood dreams would be shattered and the shit would hit the fan. My seven year-old figured out that Santa Claus is a fraud.
On her own. Believe me, I practically used CIA interrogation techniques to try to figure out who had ruined it for her. I was nine when my older brothers dropped the bomb. I'll never forget where I was(the backseat of my parent's hugeass yellow Buick, rolling around with no seatbelts) or the disbelief I felt when they told me. But even after seven rounds of questioning, Riley still insisted that she just suddenly realized that the whole Santa Claus thing didn't make sense. And I was all at once totally bummed and secretly proud of my little PI Spice.
So imagine me, caught like a deer in headlights at her declaration. Thinking I had plenty of time to think about this day, I had NO IDEA how to react. Do I deny? Run into the garage and pull out Twas The Night Before Christmas to build my case? Bring out that pesky Elf on the Shelf? Go to that freakin' web site that stalks Santa all year?
Yes, those all would have been grand ideas had I thought of them at the time. Instead, I just dumbly nodded my head and said, how did you figure it out?
The thing is, I just didn't want to lie to her about it. Now, listen, I'm not judging people that stretch the truth about Santa Claus to keep things going for a few years longer. In fact, part of me wishes I had done that too. It's just that I'm always on their little asses about telling the truth and, well, it felt hypocritical to fib about Ole St. Nick.
But then, I totally panicked. My five year-old son and ALL of Riley's first grade friends were still living in holiday dreamland. (Oh, because in case you were wondering, the Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy true identities were unveiled as well) And the last thing I needed was Riley spilling the beans at school and having every mom this side of the 405 freeway ready to beat my ass. So after much
threatening discussion, it was decided that this would stay our little secret. And to my surprise, she's been very discreet. *breathes a huge sigh of relief*
Truth be told, I'm a bit bummed that the magic wore off so early. Christmas just doesn't seem the same this year. Even as the least nostalgic person around, I wish I could have had just one more year to see that Santa sparkle in her eye. But it's also been a good teaching opportunity on how she can play Santa for other people-we grabbed a letter to Santa from Operation Santa Claus this year, and not only did she help pick and wrap all their gifts, she also pledged her own money to help bring the magic of Santa to a family that's had a tough year. And helping others, in my humble opinion, is truly the reason for the season. Okay, I'll stop now. *steps off soapbox*
And there are some other benefits to Riley knowing that Santa's a fraud...
1. She's much better at hiding that freakin' Elf on the Shelf. I basically just moved him back and forth between three places. Now he changes rooms, brings candy and visits Santa each night rather than a few times a month like he's done in years past. Although I did catch him in a compromising situation with Barbie and Ken last week that I'm going to assume was unintentional.
2. I'll finally get a good Santa picture. With the pressure totally off, I'm sure I'll get that dazzling smile I've been desperate for the past SEVEN years.
3. When she calls me Mrs. Claus, I don't think it's because I just ate too many holiday cookies and drank too much eggnog.
4. She's better behaved. Girlfriend knows that Santa was much more forgiving than me when it comes to the naughty list.
5. She finally understands why has Santa ignored her plea for a pony each year and wisely left it off her list this time.
Happy Holidays! Hope you have a FABULOUS time celebrating with your loved ones!