Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Moment After

It couldn't have been even an hour after I posted about our wonderful Christmas when Aidan dropped the bomb. "Mom, I know you bought the presents."  To which I responded, "of course I didn't honey". Then he got me. "Mom, they were in the shower in your office bathroom."  Fail.  How do you respond to that?

Well not very well. Deny. Deny. Deny. Then switch the topic. But the fact us, it's time to come clean. I'm in no way ready for this but obviously he is. All those moments of his childhood where I wish I could have done more, played more, laughed more and created more magic for him. This is the culminating moment where I have to tell him the truth. Despite my wishes, my little boy is growing up. How could this tiny, defenseless baby have gone from this

Aidan - May 2004

 to this?

Aidan - September 2013

So while he went to bed without any new insight into the why, I ponder how I'm going to deal with this next chapter in our lives. It probably seems like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here, but I think any parent with young children can relate to the moment when you realize your baby is no longer a baby. It's not a pretty moment. And I tear up a little just writing this. Once we have this talk, we can't go back. Santa will no longer be "real". 

When I was facing this "problem" a few weeks ago, a good friend sent me an article -   I have to say that her timing was perfect and my plan with Aidan is something along the lines that the blog suggests. I want him to feel that he is a part of a special club; that I wasn't lying just to lie but that this is a special secret that we must keep and protect and now he can be a part of this exclusive club. Because while Santa himself may not be real, Saint Nicolas was and it's in his spirit as to why we give gifts at Christmas and out of which the tale of Santa Claus was born.

Fast forward to today.  I debated on whether to tell him or not.  I figured I would just let it go unless he brought it up.  After all, why spoil things if he's not itching to know but is just questioning and trying to figure it out for himself without necessarily really wanting to know the truth.

But he brought it up... again.  This time mentioning the letter from Santa that he left with the half empty plates.  He said it was definitely Josh's handwriting (ha, it was mine!) and Santa did not leave him that letter.  He also said that I was the one that filled the stockings.  So is he just digging in the hopes of me telling him?  Well, I decided to own up.

I brought Aidan up to my room and sat him down.  While it might sound silly, I tried to explain it to him on his terms.  I asked him if he remembered watching Fred Claus this holiday season.  And while we don't know if Saint Nicholas had a brother named Fred, the beginning premise was true - that Nicholas was born hundreds of years ago (in the 4th century actually) and that he became a saint in part because of how he gave to others - and all of this, yes, was covered in the movie.  Again, trying to get on his level for him to understand the concept.  I told him that Saint Nicholas eventually evolved into Santa Claus and that we were so lucky because we get to continue on his traditions.

This is when he told me I was a liar and I had been lying to him for 9 years.  Hmmm... this is not going as I had planned.  I told him that it was like being a part of a secret club getting to carry on Saint Nicholas' traditions from year to year and that now he, too, could be a part of that.  And that he can help to make it special for Liam and other kids in coming years.  He wanted no part in that.

I could see his struggles with this information.  I asked him if he was upset and he said he was because he still had believed a little bit.  So I asked him why he kept on accusing me of being Santa and kept telling me things about finding the gifts, etc - that if he still believed, why did he keep questioning whether he was real?  He didn't have an answer.  And I told him that I didn't want to lie to him - that it's one thing to believe in the magic of Christmas but another to lie when he asks a point blank question or tells me that he found all the presents.  I don't think either of us have "won" in this situation.

Josh, of course, who was downstairs with Liam (he never seems to be there for these big serious conversations like the sex one either... lucky him!), said well what did you expect, you told him too soon!!  Um, hello, if you felt that, why didn't you stop me???  So now I've spoiled Christmas and Santa for Aidan.  He seems like he has moved on and is currently playing his wii u.  But what's going thru his mind as he's playing?  Is he angry?  Sad?  Betrayed?  Or is he totally fine with this current turn of events.

The good news is that we've got another 365 days until next Christmas to convince him that this time of year is magical.  And that we want to make it special for others no matter whether Santa is real or not. And that he can still be real in our hearts.


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