September 2008

They Grow up so Quickly...

Author: Mary Frances

Last night I had a rare opportunity to drive somewhere with only one child in the car. If you have more than one child then you know how rare this occurs. I didn’t schedule this one on one time with my son it just kind of happened. My mom-in-law had volunteered to take one of the kids on an errand with her while I went to pick up my son from an afternoon activity. It was on this drive home when he (only 7 1/2) asked me flat out, “Is there really a Santa Clause”? I didn’t know if some punk at school or on the playground spilled the beans. I was NOT ready for this conversation. I asked him what he meant, trying to act coy and unflustered. He said he just didn’t think it made sense and really Moms and Dads can be the ones to take a bite out of the cookies, and drink the milk and buy the presents. I stalled a bit longer and then he reasoned with me in a way that I realized it was time to fess up. He started off with, “Mom, Santa does not make sense. I just can’t see it really happening”. I said we believe in God and we can’t see him either but we have faith that he is real. “That is what faith is…believing even without seeing.”

He said, “Mom, I know God exists because there are things so unexplainable that it is proof that God is real. But Santa could be explainable…you and Dad could be doing al of this Christmas stuff”. Wow! At 71/2 he had me in a theological discussion and he proved to me that it was time (in my opinion) to reveal the truth. I told him that yes, Mom and Dad play the spirit of Santa. I explained that Santa was a symbol of the spirit of joy and giving to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But now that he knows the truth behind the spirit of Christmas there is much responsibility. I told him that once you know the secret then you have to be part of the real meaning of Christmas which is the blessings of giving to others. I reminded him of a conversation we had once before when he asked me after seeing something on the news, “Mom, why doesn’t Santa go to poor children’s houses? Why are they collecting gifts for poor kids”? I told him that we help people with less and we “play Santa” . So, this year he is going to help me select a gift for a needy child.

It was a great conversation and I was enlightened as to how he thinks and feels. What a great insight into the mind of my child! What a great opportunity I was given to have a deep conversation with him. He surprised me in his approach of the subject but I am grateful that I had the chance to reveal a secret and to guide him in the real meaning of the holiday. However, I did end it with, “And if you tell your sister or any other child about our conversation then this Santa will not be bringing you any presents this year!”

Mary Frances Lowrey

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