The other day my middle daughter A asked me if Santa was real. She’s nine years old and in fourth grade. I thought for sure she knew the truth when she was in second grade for that’s when we broke the news to her older brother. He knew all along but he wanted to spare my feelings.
I asked A, “What makes you ask that?”
“When I was at catechism, there were kids who were saying that Santa wasn’t real. Can you believe that?”
My husband R and I had agreed the week before that we needed to come clean with A after the holidays. We both thought she knew.
We were wrong.
I gave her a hug and sighed. “What do you think?” I asked, careful not to arouse suspicion from the youngest in the next room. L is only in second grade and seven years old. Too soon to know.
R interrupted the moment and asked for her help to finish making the blueberry pie. Saved by the art of pastry making.
When A joined my husband in the kitchen, our son, who at 13 is the oldest, whispered to me two words that made me teary-eyed: “Don’t tell.”
Our two oldest have a real love-hate relationship. Most of the time they get along and gang up against me to find the most annoying sounds to repeat at a crescendo until it’s too much for me to bear and finally I blow up and tell them to be quiet. Okay, so I’m exaggerating the latter but it feels true.
When they don’t get along, it’s gets pretty bad. Dukes get raised. Nerf darts are shot. Dirty looks all around.
So when the oldest asked me not to tell the truth, the spirit of Santa had never felt more alive.