Flashback Friday: Yes, Junior, There is a Santa Claus

Posted on December 3rd, 2010

It’s Flashback Friday again and since I’m expecting family for the weekend, haven’t decorated the stupid tree and still have laundry piled from the floor to the ceiling…we have this little ditty from when Junior was 7. You know, I love doing these. It’s like Junior is little again. I’m almost surprised after I post a Flashback Friday and then I go to the high school and pick up a kid who is taller than me and incredibly smart-mouthed. Sigh.

WARNING: today’s column is not for children. Okay, I probably don’t have many readers among kids–except Junior who doesn’t actually read my column, but when he sees it asks. “Mom, why are you always in the paper? Did you do something bad?”

But today’s column is about Santa. So all the little kiddies expecting some bling-bling in their stockings next Thursday had better just move on to the comics.

You see, at seven, Junior is wavering on the edge of believing in Santa Claus. I can’t tell you how many times I have answered the question “Mom, is there really a Santa?” I have lied even more than Junior does when he’s in trouble—and that’s a whole lot of lying, let me tell you.

But I can’t help it. I want him to believe. If I could, I’d bonk him over the head with a memory charm and make him believe in Santa until he’s 40. But since head bonking is probably classified as abuse and because I don’t actually know any memory charms—this is my last Christmas with a true believer.

The problem is, I think he wants to believe, too. And not just because I told him that people who don’t believe don’t get gifts from Santa. I think Junior wants the magic of Santa to last a while longer.

I know I do.

I was older than Junior when I stopped believing. And it didn’t make Christmas less fun—but it did take some of the magic out of it. I still got a stocking—filled with all the stuff that “Santa” always filled it with—but knowing that it was my Mom who really filled it made the day a little less magical.  It was like something important was missing that would never return.

And that’s why I don’t want to let go of Junior’s Santa belief. I waited so long for it to come. When he was a baby, of course, he didn’t understand Christmas at all. Sure, Harry and I made a huge deal out of it, but Santa was just a red blur in Junior’s world.

And when he was a toddler, Santa was a big, scary guy with white whiskers. Until he was around four, Junior would freak out whenever we tried to make him sit on Santa’s lap. Not even a candy cane and coloring book could convince him that Santa was a good thing.

But when he was older, Junior came to understand Santa. He realized that this big, jolly guy came to his house on Christmas Eve and left him a present and a stocking filled with good stuff.  And that’s when Santa started to be fun.

But this year, Junior has doubts. He wants to know how Santa can be at a hundred malls at once and how Santa can see everything Junior does. And how Santa can get around the world in just one night. And why some children don’t get presents from Santa—even if they’re good kids.

So this is our last year.

Our last year of seeing the magic of Santa through the eyes of a true believer. It’s sad and it’s happy and it’s a milestone, in a way. My little boy is growing up—much faster than I ever thought he would. And much faster than I want him to.

But after we went to the mall for the very last picture with Santa and a boy who believes, Junior said, “Mom, I think that was the real Santa. I really do.” So do I, Junior. So do I.

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3 Responses to “Flashback Friday: Yes, Junior, There is a Santa Claus”

  1. RU Serious (Bob) Says:

    Laurie? You should be receiving WAY more comments! What the Hey???? This was another gem but I have one question…. No Santa??? Then who was that fat guy wearing a red suit thst broke into my house last Christmas?? Sheesh!!!!!

  2. Kat Says:

    I ABSOLUTELY hate that parents lie to their children. I’m surprised that a seemingly smart woman as yourself would want to lie to your child.

  3. Laurie Says:

    Kat,
    I don’t like lying to children either. However, I don’t see a belief in Santa as a lie.

    There is a magic to childhood. Children believe in Peter Pan and SpongeBob and Santa Claus. They believe that somewhere on the planet, there is a Harry Potter. And on their 11th birthdays, they have a secret hope to get a letter from Hogwarts.

    This part of childhood that should never be stifled. This is the part that nurtures their imaginations. It enables them to grow up and someday become writers, dreamers, doers. It even enables them to grow up to be scientists and engineers and use their imaginations to create computers and cures for disease. It allows them to dare to dream that someday they can grow up and be whomever or whatever they want to be.

    I don’t believe that children are little adults. I strongly believe that the magic of childhood lasts for a small amount of time and we should support it fully. Too soon, our children will see the real world and there are times when it is not a pleasant place.

    So my gift to my child is a believe in the innocence of childhood and Santa. And I hope that one day he gives that gift to his own children.

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