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To Believe...

December 12, 2012 - Kristy MacKaben
First there was the handwriting on the gift tags that looked suspiciously like my mother's. Then it was Santa's wrapping paper I found beneath the stairs in the basement. And, finally it was the birthstone ring I discovered beneath the china hutch in the dining room that was beautifully wrapped from Santa on Christmas Day. There were other clues, but those were the ones that stood out the most, and led to the moment I finally realized Santa truly wasn't real. Of course we all know that's probably the single worst moment in most kid's lives---the second they finally have to give in to themselves and admit defeat. What a huge letdown. How depressing. Early on, I got little inklings that Santa wasn't real--maybe starting in first or second grade. But, I would fight it in my head, not wanting to believe the truth. Even when I knew for sure, I never let on to my parents. There were no questions asked to my parents. No crying fits asking why they lied to me all those years about St. Nick. There wasn't any sneaking around trying to figure out if Santa was really real. I wanted to believe he was real with all my heart. Even more than that, I desperately wanted my parents to believe that I still believed. The worst thing in the world to me would have been if my parents found out that I didn't believe. While many parents worry their older kids will blab about Santa to their younger children, I never said a word to anyone. My sister, Kelly is five years younger, and I never ever told her that Santa wasn't real. To this day, we haven't even muttered those words, and we still left out cookies for Santa when I was living with my parents for a couple years after college! So, Santa and all his magic are a big part of Christmas for me and my family. I dread the day Julie and Johnny stop believing. I can't deny that the day is getting closer for Julie. She's 7. She's in first grade and she's bound to hear stories from older kids. I know the day will come, but it literally makes me sick to my stomach. How did we get here so fast? How is our little girl already 7 and on the verge of some day soon being too grown up for all this stuff? I just have to remind myself that I have her for today, just the way she is, and that's a gift. As she searches excitedly for their little elf each morning, and hugs her favorite Christmas angel each night, I have to soak it all in.


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