Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - The truth about Santa

"Santa's not real," my daughter proclaimed yesterday morning when my mother-in-law mentioned him in passing. As I proudly beamed at my spawn for reaching a new stage in her development, I think my mother-in-law, who was visibly shaken, died a little inside.

They continued to discuss the matter, my 8-year-old asserting that it's just the parents, my mother-in-law scrambling to suggest that the parents are just Santa's helpers. The kid wasn't buying it.

My daughter didn't argue in the way she would if Grandma tried to assert that 2+2=5. Nor did she laugh like she does when Grandma asks her silly questions like why she has 12 toes. She simply stated her case in a way that said, "I know you don't believe the lie, either."

Her grandmother laughed as she made her last attempts to convince this child to hold on to Santa just one more year. But it was that nervous laugh. She made one last joke blaming public school, then walked away. Defeated.

This is very similar to how it went down when I was a kid. I declared that my mom was Santa. She denied it, but Christmas morning I pointed out that the "From Santa" written on the gifts was clearly her handwriting.

While I was proud of myself for solving the case, my mom was clearly disappointed that I had spoiled this aspect of Christmas for her. I never understood why, and I guess I still don't.

My mom was over it by the next Christmas. And I suspect it was nice to not have to stay up all night to place the presents from Santa under the tree after we finally fell asleep. But I know she took those Christmas Eve vigils very seriously.

I may not exactly understand why it hurts, but I chose Sympathy Saturday for this little tidbit of my continuing family history to acknowledge all of the women in my family who were devastated by hearing the truth about Santa.

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