I found out that Santa was make believe when I was about 9 years old. I was cleaning out the Drawer Of Doom, otherwise known as my mom’s vanity drawer, otherwise known as the junk spot, otherwise known as the place you pilfer when you need a couple dollars in change or a pen or (later) a tampon or a back to an earring or the key to the lock that you didn’t know existed, when I happened upon a picture taken by my grandma of my parents filling the stockings that hung above the fireplace.
Now, I had heard and wondered and half-heartedly accepted the fact that Santa may not be real. But having hard, cold evidence in your own two hands will make your head explode and your chin hit the open vanity drawer at break-neck speed. And then, in the next instant, you will be frantically shoving said evidence back into the drawer and slamming it shut so that your mom doesn’t find out that you just found out. Because that? Means no more presents.
At least not from the fat man with all the presents.
No, no. That means you get the one or two or three from Mom & Dad and that’s it.
When you’re 9, three presents just doesn’t cut it. In fact, anything less than a collective 30 doesn’t cut it. And we’re talking presents only. Fudge, candy, candy canes, cookies, caramels, cakes and pies are excluded from that number and should be categorized in their own right with their own alotted minimal number. Which is way more than a collective 30.
And so I pretended to believe in Santa and my parents pretended to believe that I still believed in Santa and continued to include my wishes on the list of stuff that was dropped down the chimney and placed under the tree with care. For, oh, another 5 years.
I wasn’t going to say anything.
Now that I’m a mom, I live vicariously and cling to the firm belief that Santa is real as long as you believe.
My children will live by this creed as long as I have anything to do with it. Or my husband. Who is vehemently strict about the fact that “SANTA is REAL DAMMIT. And WILL REMAIN REAL until the children are MIDDLE-AGED, even if I have to throw on a red suit and squeeze down the chimney myself.”
For the record, our chimney is slightly bigger than half the width of my husband. So yes, I’ll be sitting at the bottom with a flashlight, a tube of Vaseline and a camera. Heh.
Anywho, the one thing in the world better than believing in Santa Claus is being Santa Claus.
I couldn’t care less if there’s a present under the tree for me. Give me coal, I’ll build a fire and be happy as a mom watching her kids open presents from Santa. Why?
Because I’m a mom and I get to watch my kids open their presents from Santa.
I get to see their eyes light up when they walk around the corner to find piles of wrapped somethings strategically placed under the tree and around the room. I get to see the frenzied rush to the tree and the spaztastic ripping of paper and faces of shock and suprise and happiness when they find their every want and hope and dream emerge from within. I get to sit and observe with my cup of coffee and trash bag. Smell the scent of cinnamin rolls wafting through the house. Watch my husband tear up when he opens his presents from me. (He tears up every year. Because I? Am an awesome gift giver.) (Don’t tell him I said that. It would totally make the tattoos a lot less intimidating.) (Eddie, I mean it.)
So now it’s my turn.
Oh, and this year, God gave me a whole tub of Cool Whip atop my Christmas Morning Pie. My mama will be here. And I’ll bet my next pay check that I can make her tear up too. I just won’t allow her to take pictures of Chris and me stuffing stockings. Because I can’t have any exploding heads in my house.
Not until they open their presents and cry.