Dec 26, 2014
Before the Christmas break, he asked us if there’s a Santa. At nine years old, that’s what they do. I answered as many a surprised thoughtful parent before me and said,”What do you think ?” That was probably the give away cliché answer. He already knew the truth and I had confirmed it.
So that evening I asked him to write out his Christmas list, his first response was that he’d just wait until Christmas Eve to write it. A test, I suppose, to see if Santa was real. I was slightly irritated. And when he presented his list, he was hyper nervous. Like he knew we were all living a lie.
What happened next was all a self-fulfilling prophecy. I went to internet search that lego train and left the words “lego train” up in my google search box. And when I thought I’d erased all traces of my search, asked him to put his log-in password for the library to renew some books. And he saw those words. What are those words doing there he asked.
And the unraveling began. Those words representing Santa’s big present, that one event that keeps the magic of Christmas going. As he was asking why those words were up there, I was casually saying I just wanted to see what he was asking for but I knew I was done. If that present was there under the tree Christmas morning, the jig would be up. He would know without a doubt that there was no Santa at that very moment. Even though that train was what he really wanted, I’d have blown it. My fault Christmas died.
I think the responsibility to keep the innocence and tend the magic of Christmas is a tremendous responsibility. The stories, presents, cookies and reindeer carrots, milk, and filled stockings are all part of the production that is childhood. Not only do you have to keep your children alive but you’re responsible for their imaginations and their faith. To know that we are also then responsible for their innocence and sense of wonder and it’s demise is almost too much for me to bear.
So I ordered it anyway. I made sure to drag my feet about it so that now, the distance from New Jersey to here was the longest distance for anything to travel in a week. Faith in the holiday and its miraculous wonder diminished and I was paying a huge price to still watch it blow up. It’s inevitable of course. And I am but another casualty in the end of the production. Except, I have Fiona who’ll be two in March. And she’s yet to even understand the concept of Santa.
The package came with time to spare. I sighed with such relief. And Mark asked that Eamon write a cover letter to Santa to go with his Christmas request list, So he did. He asked questions about Rudolph’s nose and if kids actually got coal. His letter got hand delivered by me to Santa’s representative at the post office who’s been handling his requests since he could express them. This is Santa’s response letter he got back on Tuesday. We were both very amused.
Come Christmas eve, he was excited. But he didn’t ask to see the Santa tracker on the computer. We didn’t put out the magic reindeer food (oats and glitter) on the lawn. And he forgot the cookies and milk, I had to dummy them up on a table top near the fireplace.
He maintained his cool the entire time!!! Because he still wanted to believe. And he was certain he was getting that train and he was right. The fabulous expensive present was the price I paid to be able to bow out gracefully from future Christmas lies. I can say I did everything within my power to keep the illusion going this year. He had a wonderful fun overstimulating Christmas and that is as it should be. And next year, the charade will start all over again. And I will have his help to gift the wonderful lie to his sister. How befitting the end for one marks the beginning for the other. And if he blows it for her, he’ll die a slow heinous death.
Dec 24, 2014
As I arranged the last present under the tree which has already become frozen into a crunchy statue…
And I styled the last vase on the mantle so I could take my official Christmas decorations pictures 2 days before C-Day,
I felt good about all of it.
I was able to go to the grocery store and not have to calculate my spending as I went.
I have simplified my decorating style and I find the objects in my colors make me happy. Me happy.
The kids will be crazed with gift and sugar overdose come tomorrow and that is as it should be.
So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good time.
Dec 23, 2014
The sound was a thwap and a roll, hollow plastic bouncing and traveling across the floor. My new Christmas tree balls were this moment’s entertainment. The “ball balls” were being extracted from their big clear box and thrown while I hurried to put my laundry away. Although that’s exactly why I bought those, I underestimated the little monkey’s reasoning skills.
Every day is jam-packed with holiday fun.
Not unlike any other day in my life, I’ve been cramming the carrying out of Christmas details into the tiny time slots when I’m kid free. I got started early! Then stalled. And then the holiday started to close in on me and every other person in the free First world.
No one to impress but me, I knew I had time. But the tree had been lit and yet naked for a week. On the heels of the Christmas ball shot put incident, the unearthing of ribbon and tinsel garland set off a playing frenzy with Fiona dragging the garland around screaming “Mine, Mine” while the cat chased and pounced on the end. I’m not accustomed to the toddler mayhem yet. I like my holiday decorating to be quiet thinking time for me. Ha!
Today was cookie making day as well. My son and husband conceived that cookies would be Eamon’s offering to the school class party. I apparently was no where around for this important strategy tete a tete because I am no cookie baker. And alas, Pilsbury’s Sugar cookies with embedded Christmas tree designs that you just cut and bake were all gone from the grocery store’s refrigerated section. So I talked myself up into helping Eamon make chocolate chip and sugar cookies. From scratch.
I hate baking because I’m a cook. Exact measurements? And a toddler who refused to eat her dinner and is now milling around your feet and now falling off the step stool knocking sprinkles everywhere? Call them disaster cookies.
I was feeling generally hostile and irritated and pulled out just enough patience to have Eamon do most of the work. And yes, for her sake and mine, I sent Fiona out to Dada who was doing train garden setting up.
I enjoy my domesticity straight up. I am good with all the ten million details of Christmas but I just want to do them alone. No I don’t want to ever bake cookies with the kids again unless they are well-behaved young adults. No they won’t ever be decorating my Christmas tree unless they’ve proven to have tree decorating abilities. And yes, I will totally take advantage of their cute art project creations to make gifts for people at Christmas and cash in on their one absolute contribution. Creative mindless fun. The rest of Christmas is serious business and better left to the professionals.
Merry Christmas to all you perfectionistic special event planners and decorators otherwise known as moms across the world. You’ve given enough. Take a seat and enjoy the event because it’ll be over in a blink.
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