Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas was Killed by...Me

Because I wasn't enough of an emotional wreck with Nick kicking me to the curb this Christmas, my younger son decided to get in on the act. A couple of days before Christmas we were sitting down to dinner and talking about our plans for Christmas Eve and laughing and having a good time. Nick turns to Michael and is like "You still believe in Santa don't you?"

Let me stop here a minute. We played up Santa BIG time when Nick was little but by the time Michael came around, Nick was 8 and by the time Michael could understand it all, Nick had outgrown it. So while we did talk about Santa, we didn't make a huge deal out of him. He had his picture taken with Santa for the first time when he was 7. Do we suck or what?

Anyway, so Nick asks him if he still believes and Nick is a HUGE lover of all things Christmas. You know the movie "Elf" with Will Farrell? THAT is Nick. He has enjoyed keeping the Santa myth alive and so he asks Michael about it and Michael put his fork down and said (get this): "Well I did until MOM took me shopping with her to buy people's gifts!"

Twenty years from now he'll be on some shrink's couch recounting the time in his life when mom killed Santa for him. Great.

So I look at him and I'm like "What are you talking about?" He says "You know what you did, mom. You took me shopping with you all around Target to buy gifts." So I'm like "Um...Yeah, gifts for dad and Nick from OTHER people, not SANTA!" I am devastated at this point. I mean, we all had that moment in our lives where we stopped believing but to actually be sitting there with the finger pointing at you is a pretty rough thing. I remember the year I figured it out: I got a bike for Christmas and my dad was up until after midnight putting it together in our living room, cursing the entire time. Ah, good times.

Frank, sensing that I am about to cry, tries talking to Michael and then Nick chimes in to encourage Michael to still believe. And Michael's like "I don't know...Joe doesn't believe and neither does Ben (his two best friends) so I just don't know!" Okay, now we're getting somewhere but the bottom line is he blames ME.

Later that night he gets his PJ's on and kisses us goodnight and goes to bed. He shuts his door and then I hear something - he has slipped a folded up note of paper out from under the door. On it it says "I believe".

Could you just cry or what???


Leigh said...

That is kind of sad! Now I feel bad, my mom once asked me how I figured it out, and I simply pointed out that Santa had the same handwriting as hers...

Mommy Kennedy said...

Yes, I could cry!

Unknown said...

I think children should be allowed to remain children as long as they are children. There are so many things that seem to want to force adult realities upon them. Unfortunately, it is often parents who do this, by not being good enough actors.

For several Christmases, my husband managed to make an excuse to go out of the house, and then return dressed up as Santa Claus ready to deliver presents and then hurriedly move on to the next assignment. The children believed it. But then, for some unknown reason, my husband got tired of doing it. He stopped putting his heart into this roll and got sloppy. Children always notice the details.

I thought it was very sad when I saw this coming, and was angry and dissappointed at his lack of interest in his children's emotional life and dreams. I was angry because I knew that I could have played the roll much better -- if I had been a man. But I am not and cannot play the roll of "Mrs. Santa Claus".

A similar problem is at the opposite end of the cycle of life: What do you say to a parent who is old and dying? How truthful should you be to someone who has returned to a sort of "second childhood"?

I could bite my tongue off for some of the things that slipped out of my mouth and was heard by my aging father.

What to do? You do the best you can. That's all you can do. You may make mistakes. Especially if you don't think it through ahead of time. You can get caught off guard. It happened to me, so I know. It's human.

But when it comes to children, who have a lifetime ahead of them, there is the possibilty of forgiveness. If you talk with your children, they won't have to end up talking about it on some skrink's couch!

I can't do anything about things I said to my father. But the very last thing I said the very last time I saw him, was that I loved him. So maybe he forgave me before he died.

There is still hope that my children will feel loved, even if their father is not that good at make-believe.

Best wishes & a happy 2010 from

Petula said...

Awww it's okay, mommy. I'm so the unsentimental, scrouge type. When my daughter was in elementary school she was saying something about Santa. I said, "What? There's no Santa. Your mommy works hard to provide you with those gifts." She looked a little disappointed. I was sure to tell her not to tell other children 'cause their parents let them believe that. IDK, I was - and I am now - a single parent and I don't believe teaching Santa teaches the real meaning of Christmas. I know, I know, stone me now.

Kids always blame things on their parents. We do the best we can do and hope it all turns out well in the end. There's a little child in us that stays innocent, loving, pure and hope despite the knowledge of what's real and what's not.

jenn said...

I'm 37, and I still believe!

Secondary Roads said...

That is so precious! Sometimes they know what Mom needs to hear.

Frugal Vicki said...

OMG! That last line made me tear up. Also made me think of the movie Polar Express. Gosh I love that movie.
So....I know my boy is NOWHERE near the source of pain that your two currently are, but if you want to feel a little better, last night I heard my first ever "I don't like my mommy anymore" I didn't even do anything, daddy sent him to timeout. When daddy told him to apologize to me (I am tearing up remembering this), I heard "I'm sorry I don't like you mommy." These boys

Sherri said...

Oh Stace! I am just catching up but I am so crying!
BTW...I am in Raleigh and so wishing I could meet you:)