So, I knew this day was coming. It was a lot more difficult to spin the Santa story this past Christmas, and Mike and I discussed how to proceed. Interestingly, I didn't want to introduce Santa to begin with, way back in the day. I didn't want Hank to worry that since we told him white lies about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, that maybe we did that with God too. Although we clearly invest a heck of a lot more time on the God thing. But Mike was really in favor of Santa, seeing it as a beloved and enjoyable childhood tradition, so I acquiesced. And now, Mike was ready to blow Santa in ASAP while I wanted to wait another year before we potentially broke Hank's heart. He's only 7.
I remember when I learned that there was no Santa. It was just before Christmas and I was *devastated*. I didn't want to do that to my kid. So we agreed that we would wait until a time far, far removed from the Christmas season, and if the topic came up, we would be honest.
In the home of the Catholic Librarian last night:
"Mommy, does the Easter Bunny really leave me the gifts that come in my basket? Because he really looks just like a guy in a costume."
I bit the bullet.
"No Honey, we leave you those gifts."
Notice I didn't say anything about the *chocolate*, just the small gifts. I mean, it's very obvious that the Easter Bunny isn't crocheting him a stuffed crab, so that had to be said, but I was leaving myself just a wee bit of wiggle room...
Mike jumps in.
"Yeah Hank, we leave you the candy and gifts in your basket."
Well, there blows that wiggle room, but it was for the best. Right?
"Oh. I thought maybe the person in the costume did leave me the chocolate."
SEE!! I had a good theory going. Blast. But really, it's fine. I mean, a giant rabbit visiting our house to hide baskets really isn't a workable story by any stretch of the imagination. He was clearly skeptical, and the opportunity was there.
"So...there's no Easter Bunny?"
I couldn't say it, but Mike had no compunction.
"No Hank, there isn't."
"But...what about Santa? Is he real"
I *knew* he was going to ask that! And I wasn't ready, I just wasn't ready!!
But once again, Mike bravely wades in.
"No, Hank, he isn't, and you're old enough to know that now."
I felt stricken. But when I looked at Henry, he didn't look upset. He just looked very curious, and kind of: AH HA!! I *knew* it!
"So you leave me all the gifts? And eat the cookies?"
"But Hank, Santa is a tradition that is based on a real person, St. Nicholas. And we can read about him this year and celebrate his feast day in addition to Christmas. We'll get you that set of books that includes a profile of every single saint, like I've been talking about."
That was my contribution, in case there was any doubt about that. :)
"We still celebrate the same thing at Christmas that we always have, the traditions are the same. Christmas is still wonderful, for all the right reasons."
Honestly, he didn't look disturbed at all.
"Cameron told me at school that he doesn't believe in Santa. He knows too."
"But Hank, it's very important that you not ruin it for the other kids at school, and for your sister. Let them enjoy Santa and find out on their own."
"Ok....Do you want to look at my new library book with me?"
And that was that. I felt like something incredibly momentous had happened, and Hank was acting like the conversation hadn't even taken place.