It’s a sad day when kids stop believing in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and fairies.
Not because I enjoy lying to my kids, but because–on the day they stop believing–a piece of their innocence is lost. An unforgettable, valuable part of childhood dies.
Believing in magic is a beautiful thing.
Do you remember the last time you looked around the world with a sense of wonder? When seeing a puppy form in the clouds was a miracle? When the idea of an ant carrying 1000 times its own weight was something worth watching? When the impossible goodness of a fat man squeezing down your chimney fills you with hope instead of making you call 911?
Do I believe in Santa?
Of course not, but I believe the concept of Santa is worthy of my children’s belief. I don’t want them to lose that innocence and wonder.
When my teenager was young, he asked if Santa was real. I responded by asking what he thought. When he told me he didn’t believe, I offered to let Santa know. His panic told me he wasn’t ready to give up the magic.
The day that conversation didn’t cause a panic, he looked hurt, like he’d lost something precious. He had.
His world of magic was gone.
The he asked why I had spent his lifetime lying to him. I told him the truth. I said I couldn’t bear to be the one to shatter his belief in magic before he was ready.
Then, I informed him that he was in on the conspiracy. He was not allowed to ruin it for anyone else. Not his sisters, not his friends.
That Christmas, my little boy helped me stuff stockings, which was an odd feeling.
The magic was over, but we still got to share the magic of his cousins and sisters.