It happened this year, my 9-year-old son asked me point blank if Santa was real. He is the youngest of four, he has three older sisters who never believed in Santa. For reasons all our own, my husband and I chose not to do the Santa thing when they were growing up.
But Little Man came along and all his little friends were excitedly talking about Santa and while we never taught him that there was a Santa, he believed with his whole heart that there was.
A few years ago he asked me if Santa was real and I asked him if he really wanted to know to which he responded, yes! I gently told him the story about the real St. Nicholas and where the jolly St. Nick came from. He became so angry and cried out “What! Are you trying to ruin my life!”.
Well, what do you say to that? Total Mom fail there and so, we went a few more years pretending Santa was real.
A few weeks ago my son asked if he could talk to me. He whispered in my ear and asked me if Santa is real to which I asked again, “Do you really want to know?” He said yes and so we talked, for a long time, and now he knows.
He handled it very well but of course asked, “who ate the cookies and drank the milk?” He learned that Mommy is really Santa. Mommy does all the shopping, all the wrapping and making everything look beautiful before Christmas morning. So, Mommy sure does deserve those cookies and milk at the end of a very long day to which he totally agreed.
We have visited the same Santa at the same mall for his entire life. This Santa was genuine, gentle, and has a real beard; he sure looks like the real Santa. This Christmas we live in a different town with a different Santa.
Last week my son and I went to the mall while we waited for tires to be put on the Mom Mobile.
As we walked through the mall we came upon Santa’s Wonderland. I asked my son if he would like to go visit Santa to which he replied, “What’s the point!” Ugh, heartache! I gently told him that while we know Santa is not real, it’s still a fun tradition and if he’d like to go I promised I wouldn’t post his picture on Facebook. He said, No!
The tire install took a lot longer than expected and as we took our second trip around the mall, we came upon Santa’s Wonderland again. I chose not to say anything this time but what my words didn’t say the emotional picture I saw with my eyes and my Mom heart said everything.
We walked slowly by and saw Santa sitting there waiting for children with wide-eyed wonder to stop by to see him. My son looked over, Santa waved, my son waved and then looked away and kept walking.
It kind of crushed my heart that he’s so bummed to know that Santa isn’t real.
I asked him again if he was sure he didn’t want to go see Santa and he softly replied, “I want to go back to where my Santa is, at the other mall.”
So, there it is! While he knows the truth about Santa it’s just not the same to visit a new Santa. So as any good Mom would do, we’ll make the hour-long drive this week and pray that our old faithful Santa is still at the old mall because while my son may be too old to believe Santa is real, he’s not too old for Santa.