It’s funny how you think you know how you’re going to handle things as a parent before you actually become a parent. Then they let you take this tiny human home from the hospital and everything gets flipped upside down.
Now, I grew up believing in Santa. It’s not that I remember having a negative reaction to finding out the truth, but I do remember thinking as an adult, when I found out that other families didn’t do Santa, that I didn’t want to have my kids believe in Santa at my house. It felt like lying, and I didn’t want to lie to my kids.
However, when my firstborn’s first Christmas rolled around, I was persuaded, reluctantly, to make our home a house that Santa visited. (On a side note, I woke up at four in the morning that first Christmas and couldn’t go back to sleep because I was ridiculously excited for Spencer to wake up and see what Santa had brought. He was eight months old. Yeah. I was sorely disappointed when he ditched the toy for the box it came in.)
My boys are now nine and five. My oldest wants to be in the know all the time. I call him “my little old man.” His wheels are always turning trying to figure out complicated matters. He has had lots of questions about Santa, but nothing that really had backed me into a corner… until this summer.
You see, Santa had gotten the boys roller skates for Christmas last year. In our house, Santa brought one gift, unwrapped. Well, Santa ditched the roller skate boxes under her bed and kinda forgot about them.
Fast forward to summer when the boys were playing hide and seek. Spencer decided to hide under my bed and found the roller skates box from months before. He proceeded to ask me who gave him the roller skates. Uh, oh. Busted!
I quickly told him we’d talk about it later, I didn’t want his little brother to hear about it. He looked confused, but said okay, wheels-a-turning, and continued to play hide and seek.
Later that night, after Elliott was asleep, we had a heart-to-heart. I was 100 percent sure that he had figured the whole Santa thing out. I just knew.
So I looked at him, and I regretably began, “Spencer, I’m sorry you had to find out about Santa like that.”
“What?” he said, staring at me blankly.
Uh, shoot! No rewind button. So I had to tell him that I was, in fact, Santa. Shoot, shoot, shoot. I had just killed Santa for my oldest child.
I will never forget the look on his face as he realized what I was saying. This look told the gravity of what this meant for him. We talked it out and I made him promise me that he would not spoil the magic of Santa for the kids who still believed and especially for his brother, Elliott. I enlisted his help right then and there for that blasted Elf on the Shelf.
I didn’t expect the sadness that came at the end of his innocence. I am certainly glad he found out about Santa from me, but it still broke my heart a little bit, all the same. That being said, I also have to confess, I have enjoyed sharing this “secret” with him this year, and I love seeing him still enjoy the magic by playing along for his brother.