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  • Sara Moore

Is Santa Real?

I knew this day was coming, but I wasn't ready for it.  Zachary is in 5th grade and turned 11 last week.  He is an only child and has always believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Leprechaun who pees green in the toilet every St. Patrick's Day, the Elf on the Shelf (who only started arriving 2 years ago when a friend dropped him off), the Tooth Fairy and God.  All things you can't really see but you just simply believe in.  This year he has been grilling me about Santa and the Elf relentlessly, and this morning I had to address it because he is feeling so pressured by friends who have told him they're not real that it's stressing him out. 

Yesterday was a snowday and I spent most of the day coming up with stories about how the Elf moves.  In the past I have caught him nose to nose with the little bastard waiting to see him blink or twitch.  He's pretty sure he saw movement and it kept the spirit alive.  But yesterday he admitted to me that he touched him with a piece of paper.  More than once.  And that there's no way he's real because his fingers are plastic and stuck together and he doensn't look like the "real" ones that his friends have.  Um, that's because I refused to buy into it and the one my friend gave us is fantasticaly creepy looking!  You know that made me happy, but the first day Fred the elf was hiding in the bathroom Z refused to go in it.  Oops!

Let me tell you a few other things, just so you know how much this kid believved.  He started writing Fred notes and Fred would write back.  Every.  Single.  Night.  Fred may have had to set an alarm for 10:15pm every single night to remember to move and respond, but he did it!  Fred met the Tooth Fairy one night when they both showed up at the same time and I'm pretty sure some sort of romance still continues.  Z thought that was hysterical!  But the elf only exists here, not at his dads.  So there was some questioning about that but I had smoke screened him enough that it wasn't a deal breaker in his belief. 

Yesterday Z said that he really, really was struggling with the concept of Santa and there's no way it's possible for him to exist.  Followed with, "And you REALLY think there's a huge bunny who delivers candy?  Really mom?  Really?"  Ugh. When he went to bed he hid the kindle and left it on record to catch me moving the elf, but luckily the battery was only at 22% and died before that happened.  The end was near and I was getting beaten down trying to keep up with the doubting child.  He's getting taller by the minute, his voice is getting deeper and I can fit into his shoes.  But I actually really started to enjoy all this fantasy and watching his face on Christmas morning was worth every middle of the night "OH SHIT I forgot to move the elf!"  Today I had to come clean, but I had to do it in a way that made me not cry as I told him and still instill the ability for him to take the reins for the little kids, including his own if he ever has any. 

So.  There we were, in the car at the bus stop and it was time.  Now mind you, I've answered all the sex questions no problem.  Didn't even blush and I nailed them!  But I knew this was monumental.  It went down like this.

Mom.  Serioulsy.  I need to know if Santa is real, because kids are making fun of me.  My dad said hes' not, even Kasen doesn't believe any more, and I just don't think it's possible.  I WANT to believe, but it's just really hard to.

Sigh.  Ok.  So here's the truth Z.  Santa does exist, but he exists in our hearts.  Kind of like God.  You know he's there, but you can't see him. 

Ok.  I get that.  But is he really real?

Well, you know how you're getting taller and your voice is getting deeper? Yes.  When you were little Santa and the memory of Santa lived right in the front of your brain.  He was real because you believed, and that allowed him to deliver presents and the elf to keep tabs on you.  As you got taller and older, the belief started lowering down a bit and into your heart more than your head. 

Silence.  Deep thoughts by Z.  Then he said, "I get that."

But here's the deal Z.  As he gets more and more in your heart, it's your job to be an elder and keep that spirit alive for all the kids who do still believe.  It's kind of a big deal and it sounds like you're ready.

"I am. (long pause)  So does this mean the Leprechaun won't be coming this year?"

Oh no, he'll always come to our house!  Grammy Mary Ellen was born on St. Patrick's day and I'm pretty sure she'll keep sending him even when you're a grown up! 

The bus headed down the road and Z leaned in for a kiss then got out of the car.  I had to fight back tears but know that tonight I will still move the elf and Santa will still leave gifts under the tree.  I don't think I'm quite ready for them to not be real even if my boy is.


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