Sunday, December 6, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #6.

"When you stop believing, you stop getting."

"When you stop believing, then Mom and Dad has to buy the presents."

"Who doesn't believe in Santa Claus?"

Believe it or not in the past three days I have been a part of at least five different conversations that deal with "believing in Santa." So I have had to tell my funny little story more than once. However, since it has been on my mind, including a conversation in the church nursery this morning, I thought I would share it with you.

When I was a little girl ( my kids would say "a long, long time ago...") I had a friend who found out there wasn't a Santa while on the playground at school. I remember being so upset, that she was so upset. I remember big tears and sobbing as the teacher tried to calm her down. I just have this childhood memory of her being so sad.

I guess I need to back up just a little. Under my tree every Christmas, there were packages from "Santa." However, I really don't have a memory of really not knowing the truth. I just knew it was "my dad." Whether I figured that out on my own or my parents told me, I really don't know. I just know that Santa was a part of my childhood, but I was never totally caught up in the "believing" part of the jolly red suited guy.

That being said, when I grew up and had my first baby, I decided I would not subject my child to that sadness I saw my little friend experience. So Kayla from day one knew Santa was "Daddy." No problems, right? It was after all my personal choice. I thought I had reached the key to parenting and that all the other moms who fed their kids all that bologna didn't know what good parenting was.

Before you want to tar and feather me, let me just say that I have had a change of heart. As they grew older, I kind of missed all the magic that came with believing. If I had it to do over... I might just do things differently. But then who knows. I say this, to say, I'm not anti Santa, it started because I was anti the sadness I remembered. I have since learned that every child handles things differently. Who knows how or what my kids would believe. I tend to think that Kayla would figure it all out, for she is such a deep thinker, like her mom. My son, however, probably would have figured it out when I ran out of answers to his hundreds of questions. He is the child that has to know how everything works.

So, all that being said, here I was, a Mom with two kids that knew the truth behind Santa. I never foresaw the problems I would have. (Remember, I was the cocky young mom with all the answers!!!)

Until Kindergarten.

Kayla got into her one and only fight, on the playground. Imagine my horror when Kayla became the one breaking young hearts. One girl was willing to fight her over it. Neither girl, as they rolled in the dirt were willing to back down from their stance on Santa Claus.

I had to eat a little humble pie and realized a lot about child rearing that Christmas. Mothers don't have all the answers, and when you do think you have it all figured out, something like a good playground brawl will knock your feet out from under you. I had to explain to Kayla that it was not her job to tell the "secret." That since she was so "smart" and was allowed in on the big secret, that she had the important job of keeping that secret and playing along with all her cousins and friends who believed.

It worked. My kids managed to not get in anymore fights and actually had a blast at times, playing along with the grownups on the big secret. I remember one year Kayla even getting a bite of a "cookie for Santa."

When I tell my little story, everyone has a good laugh, for imagining Kayla in a fight on the playground... too funny. She just isn't that little girl anymore. How can you not smile, when you tell someone that your daughter has only been in one fight at school, and it was over Santa Claus.

Oh, the memories... You really do have to learn from them.

That being said, picture #6 on my countdown is...

You guessed it! Jolly Saint Nick.

My kids may not have grown up believing in the traditional Santa down the chimney, with his sleigh and reindeer. But I did teach them about the real MR. Claus. The man with a big heart who gave lovingly to others, especially around the holidays.

Happy December 6Th Friends!

I pray as your children and mine enjoy the magic of the holiday, no matter what they believe, that they grow up knowing the most important thing: Christmas is really about giving rather than receiving. "For God so loved the world, that HE gave is only son..."


He & Me + 3 said...

Oh no about the playground. You handled it well. What a cute santa figure that is. You growing up sounds like me...I don't remember finding out when Santa was not real..

Andrea said...

I love this is real life. We think we can be perfect parents, but unfortunately they do not come with a users manual. Yes, I know we have GOD's word, but he leaves out a few details like yes or no to santa, etc. I did Santa, but much like you!
So I am neither for nor against. I respect others choices, either way.

You have a wonderful memory!
Blessings, andrea

mimi said...

Oh Mich....same! My boys have known the truth about Santa from the start and I feel like I jipped them a little. Lately, they have been asking again....strange, but I've now been saying..."do you want santa to be real??". Oh gosh, the whole santa things is so confusing :)

Kendra Lee said...

When my kiddos were little, we were very young Christians and got some advice about how to handle the Santa thing... We embraced their "points" and chose not to do 'Santa'... We too are now feeling, "Really? what was the big deal? It probably wouldn't have killed them..." Oh well. Live and learn... Now they're 7, 9 and 11 so we'd be probably outgrowing 'Santa' anyways... Where is that parent manual anyways???

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Oh my goodness, I think you're drinking my kool-aid. We've completely done the Santa thing from the get go, until this past Friday. While out of town, my husband was squarely confronted with the questions of my 3rd grader; it's been along time coming, and we'd hoped to postpone the inevitable until after Christmas. Not to be; husband told him the truth, behind closed doors... a door that was intended to keep my daughter from hearing, but she heard. She was on the other side of that door. She was devastated, and I missed it all.

Hubby called on the cell phone; what a mess, but now it's done, and we're passed it. Now we can sleep in... I hope. Still it saddened me to see the tears of baby girl and watch her tear up her wish list. Don't worry; I put it back together again.

No good rules on this one; live and learn.


E @ Scottsville said...

Santa has been a tricky thing in our house. Our boys were told that Santa was NOT REAL. Jason hated "Satan Clause" and he called him. Yet when Riley - the baby of the family was told that Santa WAS in fact real, what was a dad to do? Her adopted Grandpa told her that Santa was indeed real and somehow, Jason began to play along. I guess he mellowed with age.

Riley is now 10 and I'm trying to decide when to break her little heart.... *sigh* For now, she still believes, but soooo many kids have told her he's not real.

Not sure when or how to handle it. It was sure easier with the boys!

Andrea said...

You have another award on arise 2 write. andrea

Gretchen said...

Ah, the Santa Dilemma...

We kept mum, but then my son SOBBED when we finally had to tell him in 5th grade. The other kids were talkin' anti-Santa smack, and he nearly came to blows. So we told him to save him. But he felt so sad. Who knows what the right answer is. I remember feeling so sad, too, because the fragile house of cards which was the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Lucky the Leprechaun took an earth-shaking hit.

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

That's so funny about your little girl! My sister and I didn't get raised believing in Santa but Mom said there was one year we REALLY WANTED to believe so she and Dad put a present under the tree from Santa. AFter that year we must have had it out of our system and that was that:) We haven't raised our kids to believe in Santa either and so far no problems with friends or begging to believe like I did that one year. Hopefully they won't be too scarred for life;)