“Mum, I was just thinking if some people, you know like God and Father Christmas exist?”
This was the conversation today as we headed off down the beach. “What do you think?” Was my instant reply, not quick or brave enough to tell him what I really thought. While it’s normal for Tween and I to debate and philosophise life, this one really threw me.
My son started secondary school in September, you see, and it’s just occurred to me today that he still might believe in Santa. Further more, I have no idea what prompted this conversation as it was neither Christmas or were we doing any thing religious, in fact it couldn’t have been more random given the fact it was late summer and we were off for a swim in the sea
It’s not so much the location of the conversation, but more the fact I came very close to telling him the truth. While we mulled over his wonder of how the earth got here and the general theory of evolution we moved on to how Father Christmas knew exactly what to get each child, my mind was half on the fact that pretty soon he’s going to be entering a world where he’ll learn about drugs, alcohol and just the general rule breaking in society.
The world I’ve worked so hard at protecting him from for all these years, will no longer have to get through my firewall, I won’t be with him to filter out the nasties, instead I’ll l have to encourage him to make the right and sensible choices himself.
I quietly pondered over the fact that telling him will stop him looking too immature in front of his peers and that maybe it would come better from me. Every so often he threw a few curve balls in which I’m wondering now were his subtle ways of telling me ‘he knew’ and as the words sat on the tip of my tongue, I just couldn’t summon up the courage to say it out loud.
How do you break the news to your child that all these years have been a lie? All the traditions, the fake snowy foot prints up the stairs, the glitter on the door step, the elves running round the garden with jingle bells, warning all the children Santa was on his way? (that really happens in our house!)
How do you do that?
If it comes from me he’ll know I’m capable of lying to him and might question other things I’ve told him.
I feel I’m taking his childhood away and forcing him to an adult world by saying
“that’s it now boy, your Christmas’ will never be the same again.”
As he carried on his questions I simply answered with more questions, leaving the opportunity to pass for another day. I decided in that split second that today was not going to be the day he would stop believing.
I have a feeling he’s starting to make his own mind up any way, We’ve come to an unspoken understanding about the tooth fairy, and I’ll try to hang on to that tiny thread of an innocent boy for a day or too longer, for now.