Two or three years ago, I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take some fictional MAN taking all the credit for all the scrounging I was doing to give my girls that Christmas morning pleasure of a tree overflowing with gifts. Particularly back then, when my salary was lower, and my money concerns much greater. (It's still a concern to some degree, but not nearly as bad as it used to be.)
I think it was three Christmases ago that after the holiday, I shared the news with Sylvia. A few months went by before we told Riley.
I told them that while the story of one man going to every house in the country giving gifts was not true, but that we could all be Santa. That my parents and I play the role for them, and that Santa lives in our hearts.
I remember when my dad told me. I was DEVASTATED. And then he added salt to the wound by telling me that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy weren't real, either...it was more than I could take. I totally fell apart.
Sylvia was skeptical that I had been lying to her - but I didn't phrase it like that. I just told her that I was playing my part. Riley loved being let it on the secret. I just hoped that they weren't telling their friends so I stressed to them the importance of letting the moms and dads tell them.
It was months until the next Christmas. When it came around, Sylvia would wink and nudge at me when people referred to Santa. But she still wanted to see Santa and take the pictures. Riley, too. And they still do.
They still watch the holiday specials, they didn't even recognize a family friend of ours when he played Santa recently. They talk about the tooth fairy. In fact, Riley lost a tooth today and I said I hoped the tooth fairy and Santa didn't get in an accident tonight. Riley just looked at me, exasperated at my bad humor but still smiling, and said, "Mom!" in that multi-syllabic way.
I hear parents talk about using different wrapping paper for Santa gifts and I'm just glad it's not me worrying about that!
For me, besides the whole fictional man issue, there was also the issue that I am the only one that my girls can count on. They need to know that they can trust me. I used to worry about them hearing it from someone else, and how that would affect our relationship. That may sound trivial, but it wasn't to me. I just couldn't take that chance.
When I told Sylvia, I asked her if she'd been told already. She said she had heard some talk at school about it, and had meant to ask me about it, but she hadn't yet. She did seem grateful that I trusted her with the truth.
A few weeks ago, Sylvia lost a tooth. She still puts them under her pillow for reimbursement. So as I was heading to bed, I came in with a dollar. She was still up, and had pulled out another one! I handed her the dollar, told her I had no more dollar bills and would owe her another. She gave me the tooth. We went to bed. A few days later, I handed her another dollar.
For us, the truth is so much easier to handle.
This is not a judgment against anyone. It's just our story.