DISCLAIMER: The following blog discusses Santa Claus and the like. Proceed with caution.
We have a saying in our house: we don’t keep secrets.
This rule was established for the obvious, and maybe to some, not so obvious reasons. But, basically when you tell one of our children “don’t tell” they know that is a red flag to blab away.
I will admit, though, that it gets tricky. Because in our house we also have visits from Santa Clause.
And the Easter Bunny.
And the tooth fairy.
One could argue that we not only keep secrets in our house, but that we are big fat liars. That, my friends, is what I refer to as a fine line.
Fast forward 10.5 years.
My oldest, who already lost his first set of teeth, apparently started losing a second round of teeth. But, said child lost those teeth in silence. Then, said child put those teeth under his pillow without so much as a peep. Then the next morning as said child, et. al were lounging, said child exclaimed:
“OH! I put my teeth under my pillow! I wonder how much the tooth fairy left!”
[Inside voice: well, shit. The tooth fairy left jack crap because you didn’t say anything to the tooth fairy.]
Background: I had been contemplating sharing the origin stories of the holiday deity’s with my oldest for some time. He is going into 6th grade and I really did not want him coming home one day saying ‘so and so’ told him Santa wasn’t real because then that would mean we kept a secret in our house.
And we don’t do that. Clearly.
Rock.Me. Hard place. Followed by quick decision based on month’s of contemplation.
Now seems as good a time as any to fess up. After all, his teeth are still under his pillow.
“Come here for a sec.”
“Can you lock the door? I have to tell you something.” The last time my nerves were this butterfly-y I was on the first date with his dad.
I blurt out, “Ok, so you know that Saint Nicholas was a real person, right?”
[Inside voice: apparently, this is how it’s going to go down.]
“Yea, he gave all his money to the poor people and gave toys to kids.”
“Correct, but that was a really long time ago. And St. Nicholas died;”
[Inside voice: dream crusher.]
“so we celebrate his memory by keeping that magic alive. And we keep the magic alive by being kind. And that kindness is in the form of Santa Claus. Do you know what that means?”
“Um,” he pauses.Thinking. Then makes direct eye contact and shakes his head. “No.”
[Inside voice: Dammit, he’s gonna make me say it.]
“That means that mom and dad are Santa Clause.”
He protests “But dad said he saw Santa Clause.”
[Inside voice: well, dad lied.]
“Yes, he said that to keep the magic alive.”
He concedes. “Yea, kids on the bus kept saying that Santa isn’t real.”
[Inside voice: fucking bus.]
“Well, now you know. But, when they say that Santa isn’t real, you stand up for the magic and the kindness and tell them that you saw Santa. Ok? Because everyone deserves to have that magic if their parents want them to. And when everyone in our house knows that mom and dad are keeping the magic alive, then Santa doesn’t visit anymore. The cool thing is, next year, you will be part of the magic and help us bring Santa to your brother and sisters.
[inside voice: nice word vomit.]
“Ok, mom!” he says with excitement.
“So, do you know why there wasn’t any money under your pillow from the tooth fairy?”
“Um,” he pauses. Thinking. Then makes direct eye contact and shakes his head. “No.”
[Inside voice: freaking eh.]
“Oh, buddy you are making this hard for your mother. Because I am the tooth fairy and you didn’t tell me that you lost your teeth. But, I will give you the money because the tooth fairy will still be coming for all the little ones. Do you know why?”
“Um,” he pauses. Thinking. Then makes direct eye contact. “To keep the magic alive?“
“Exactly! So do you know what that means about the Easter Bunny?”
“Um,” he pauses. Thinking.
[Inside voice: I swear, if he says no, I quit.]
He makes direct eye contact and says in an uncertain tone, “you are the Easter Bunny?”
“Exactly. And now…?
“I get to be?”
“Yes! Do you have any questions?”
“Um.” He pauses. Thinking. “What about Thanksgiving?”
“What about Thanksgiving. No one comes at Thanksgiving. Well, except the elf.”
“At least the elf is real, right?”
[inside voice: Oh buddy].