This year is different.
The tree is the same one we’ve had for years. The ornaments just get better and better as I add a new photo of the kids and something that represents my travel each year.
But there is this one thing that has changed.
I don’t know that I was as prepared as I should have been for the gut punch I felt when having a conversation with my small dude as we were decorating the tree.
“Why are moms and dads encouraged to lie to their children?”, my Cooper asked the other day. He stared at me, eyes every-so-slightly shimmering wet. I took a deep breath before I responded.
“Buddy…. I know it is hard to understand, but I haven’t been lying to you. I believe. For me, Christmas has always been about belief. It has always been about hope and joy and giving and love. That IS what Santa represents. He is bigger than you and me and his magic teaches us. I realize he looks a bit different to you now. But the message and the gift of Christmas are the same.”
Now that he is surrounded by all things Christmas and holidays, it is sinking in and he doesn’t love it.
He will no longer wake in the middle of the night, certain he heard reindeer hooves on our roof.
He will no longer look, with amazement, at the leftover crumbs of cookies and half-drank milk, mind blown at the notion of Santa getting in and out without waking us all.
I will no longer catch him whispering his wishes and worries to Freddie, our elf.
With each day we move deeper in to December, ever closer to Christmas Day, I can see new realizations dawning. Yet, the flicker of hope is still there.
I’m grateful for that flicker because I do believe. And I want him to feel the same.
While I’ve known for years that Santa doesn’t make his way down my chimney, I fully embrace the magic of giving, belief and hope that he represents.
I love that he was one of the first to teach me to believe in something bigger than myself. I’m hopeful the lessons and love that come from him (as well as from me) are helping to teach Cooper and Delaney the very same thing.
I’ve always believed one of my primary responsibilities as a parent is to raise good citizens of the world – giving children who grown in to giving teens and then to giving adults. And those same adults believe – in love, in themselves, in their family and friends, and the basic goodness of people.
I’m hopeful this first year of disbelief can be transformed in to our first year of DEEP belief….in magic, in love, in the gift of togetherness and in each other.
Happy Holidays, my friends.