So it appears Jack still believes in Santa after all.
I was sure the gig was up, but didn't want to ask outright. So in my subtle, sly way I remarked, "It doesn't seem like you're talking about Santa much this year, Jack. What's up with that?" He hemmed and hawed a little bit, and at first I thought he was trying to buy time. Admit to disbelief and risk not getting presents? Or relieve himself of the burden of having to keep pretending?
Neither, it turns out. The sounds coming from his throat were the shocked noises of a boy who suddenly realizes he may be on Santa's bad side. He hasn't sent his Christmas e-mail, hasn't written, hasn't called. Time to get on the Santa stick!
Ever since, we've had a lot of Santa Claus talk around here. Now, I know that Jack is surrounded by loads of disbelievers in the fourth grade, and he's smart enough to ponder the physics and metaphysics of Santa's midnight ride. But Jack doesn't give up easily. Besides, he's my child, and I believed well into third grade--and, I might add, I believed even after my little brother told me Santa wasn't real (he was a kindergarten math genius with an agnostic bent, the enemy of all that is irrational and unscientific even then). I believed even after my mother confirmed that what my brother had said was true.
So Jack still believes, despite the doubts that surely have arisen in his mind, despite conflicting reports. Good for him!
It's funny, how completely consuming it is to have children, how it takes over your life until it's not your life anymore. Sometimes it makes me crazy, and sometimes I dream of the day when a day is mine to make of it what I will instead of running kids around in the van and arranging play dates and doctor visits. Still, when I think about this passage of childhood being over, when the magic of Christmas recedes behind the drama of middle school and high school, and the boys would rather spend the holidays running around with their friends instead of sitting in front of the Christmas tree, dreaming, it makes me sad. I'll miss the magic of living with true believers.
So dream on, Jack, and keep the faith. The world is out there waiting for you, but it's okay to stay inside a little longer, where it's warm and everyone loves you.
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope that you find a few minutes of peace, a handful of joy, a little magic. Much love.