There’s been a lot of talk about taking kids to see Santa this week.
And a lot of bloggers have shared their Santa pictures with us – the good and the bad (though the bad ones weren’t all that bad, they’re bad in a cute and funny way).
Though I would love to jump on the band wagon and share my Santa pictures with you …
… I can’t. Because I don’t have any.
Wait. That’s not true, I have one. This one:
This is GD when he was six weeks old. He had decided to keep the nurses busy in NICU for the first six weeks of his life – he’s such a ladies man. 😉
Since my oldest son spent the first Christmas of his life in the hospital, Santa took pity on the boy and came to visit him.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to witness the visit. Santa happened to visit during one of the rare times I had actually gone home and taken a shower (actually, I was told to go home and take a shower – I seem to recall a nurse spraying a lot of Lysol and then pushing me out the door while holding her nose. I can’t imagine what that was about but you know, that whole time period is a blur so just go with it).
A kind nurse took this picture and handed it to me when I stepped through the NICU door. I was both delighted that they went to the trouble of making my little boy feel special on Christmas day and sad because I had missed it.
But I was used to having my emotions teetering-tottering from one extreme to another during that time period so I took it in stride.
But that was the last time GD ever went near Santa Claus.
It wasn’t through my lack of trying, I assure you. I took both boys to the mall several times and tried to coax, and yes, even bribe them to go sit on Santa’s lap but neither boy wanted anything to do with him.
Nothing. At. All.
I blame myself. I got so into the whole Santa story that I sort of glamorized Santa to the point he had been put on a pedestal and though not exactly God-like, he was certainly an impressive figure in my boys’ eyes. They had no trouble talking about Santa, or making lists for Santa, but when it came time to face Saint Nick and look him in the eye, they would totally freeze.
I’ll never forget those young years when we would be walking through the mall and pass the Santa station. I would inevitably plead with them to at least go stand beside Santa so I could get a picture, but their backs would stiffen and they would stand ram-rod straight and without so much as moving an eye muscle, they would stare straight ahead and pretend the man didn’t exist every time we got close to him.
When they couldn’t see him anymore, they broke their stone mold and returned to normal.
It was a bizarre reaction, to say the least. After so many years of trying and so many years of putting up with statue-like sons, I gave up.
Now, of course, they are way too old to be sitting on Santa’s lap and in fact if they did, I would be very worried about them.
So, no Santa pictures. My boys simply weren’t interested. I’m guessing they felt embarrassed and intimidated being near someone so … awesome.
And again, it’s partly my fault. I used to make SUCH a big deal about Santa. He really did become legendary in our household.
In fact, I remember when the boys were in grade school and we tracked Santa’s Christmas Eve progress on NORAD. If you’re not familiar with this site – they post a video, every hour (?) on Santa’s progress around the world Christmas Eve – you really must check it out. Children eat this stuff up.
It was really quite exciting and I confess, I found myself really getting into the game just by my sons’ reactions. When Santa got close to our region, the boys went ballistic and DEMANDED to go to bed because they didn’t want Santa to pass them by.
GD was especially worked up and we tease him about that to this day. But his enthusiasm was so much fun to feed and watch.
Today, the boys know the truth, of course. At least, I think they know the truth, we’ve never actually discussed it. And when they’ve asked me point blank, I’ve always said, “I don’t know about your friends, but Santa will always come to this house, no matter how old you are.”
I tell them that because, well, my mom told us that when we were kids. In fact, she STILL says that. And though it sounded cheesy and I rolled my eyes, I secretly loved it. There was something so … comforting to know that magic was still alive.
They never see their gifts until Christmas morning. And though they’ve laughed, scoffed, and made snide remarks about “Santa”, they’ve refused to allow me to strike a deal with Santa and go ahead and put their presents under the tree.
See? Even as teenagers, they still desire that little bit of magic.
My boys have always known the real reason behind Christmas, of course. But believing in Santa was just a fun, exciting diversion and there was something so … magical about believing in Santa.
My sisters-in-law didn’t allow their children to believe in Santa. They told them the truth as soon as they were old enough to understand what Santa was. I never agreed with that philosophy but I never said anything about it – after all, that was their decision.
And they were always very supportive in our desire to allow our children to believe in Santa by watching what they said around my boys. In fact, my nieces and nephews even went along with the game for my boys’ benefit.
And I appreciated the effort. But then my nieces and nephews would turn their backs and roll their eyes and it broke my heart, just a little, that they were so cynical at such a young age. To me, they had been denied a very special part of childhood.
But again, that’s my opinion. Everyone has the right to do what they think is right for their family.
But for my family? Santa will always come and visit because it’s FUN to savor that little bit of magic.
And perhaps I’M not quite ready to give up that magic, either.