Clarissa Johal: Santa Claus...and other lies

Friday, May 22, 2009

Santa Claus...and other lies

December 26, 2006

Early this morning, my 5-year-old and I were sitting on the couch together, watching the fire crackle in the fireplace. We were the first up, as usual. Her Christmas present was that she'd been sick all week, struggling with a sinus infection and getting over conjunctivitis in both eyes. It's made for very short nights and even earlier mornings.
So, bleary eyed and congested, my little darling suddenly asked me...if Santa is real.
Now, I'm sure she's heard her sister and me discussing Santa and Christmas faeries; a traditional, but watered-down version handed down through generations of my family. Her 6-year-old sister knows (and has had no problem with the fact) that Santa is make-believe and Christmas faeries are a figment of her moms flighty, but “trying to keep the Scottish faith,” imagination.
My older daughter indulges me.
But, I guess I've never had a heart-to-heart with my youngest daughter about it. And, of course, this morning at 5AM and after dosing her up on sinus medication, saline nose spray, and eye drops...she chose to bring it up.
"Is Santa real?" she asked me again.
"Ummm…" I had about a thousand replies and couldn't seem to come up with one.
Her big, blue eyes started to fill with tears as she asked me again, "Is Santa real, mommy?"
Oh geez. On top of her lower lip getting all quivery, and her pinkish eyes welling up with tears, she was making herself all congested again.
Setting down my coffee, I gathered her in my arms and held her tight...and I lied.
Oh, the guilt.
I have made it a rule in my heart and home never to lie to my kids--even about the small stuff. So, it came out something like this;
"Do you think Santa is real?"
To which she nodded her head uncertainly.
"Well, if you think he's real, then he is." (Note to self, he's a spirit of...a feeling...historically, he was....blah, blah, blah. Shut up, head, you just lied to your child.)
"And he has a beard, mommy? And wears red pants?"
Oh boy, this was snowballing. "Ummm..."
My 5-year-old looked deep into my eyes and somehow, I just had this feeling she knew that I totally lied to her.
"Do you want to leave some cookies out, Santa, and thank him for all your presents you got on Christmas? We didn't do that, did we?"
"Okay, we'll do that tonight."
I sighed. When she turns 6-years-old, or whatever age, and discovers that there is no Santa, she's never going to trust me again.
Or maybe my older daughter will end up telling her when she wakes up this morning...

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