The Setting: Ben’s room yesterday evening as I was saying good-night. Him under the covers, lights out, with me snuggled next to him. (In case you don’t know, he’s 7.)
Ben: (Ducking his head under the covers as he speaks) I don’t believe in Santa Claus.
Me: You don’t?
Ben: (Shakes his head, which is still under the covers) No.
Me: Why not?
Ben: (Takes the covers down a little) Well, I just don’t think he could really deliver presents to everyone all over the world in one night.
Me: Oh. Did Maya talk to you about it?
Ben: No. (Pause) But I think most of my friends know.
Ben’s friends are all older than he is, by at least a year. Some are 2 and even 3 years older, so this news did not come as much of a shock.
Me: Well that’s ok. Did you think I would be upset if you told me?
Ben: (Shrugs his shoulders but turns and gives me a hug.) I don’t know.
Me: Of course I wouldn’t. But Ben, do you know what is real about Santa Claus?
Ben: No, what?
Me: What’s real is what he represents, which is the spirit of giving and the joy of being with family at Christmas.
Ben: Oh, ok. (Gives me another hug.)
Me: So can we still go and see Santa on Sunday? (at ABC Carpet – Best Santa in the World!)
Me: Good, because I really enjoy it.
Ben: Me too.
My sweet boy. Maya believed in Santa till she was 10 but I knew that chances were Ben would figure it out much sooner. There are people who think that you shouldn’t ‘lie’ to kids about Santa, but I wouldn’t have missed the magic in their eyes for all those years for anything. And even though now the magic has lessened, there is a part of it that will linger always.