Of course they're real. Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, St.Nicholas, even the Hallowe'en Switch Witch in our household. They'll be real for as long as our family chooses to let them bring magic in.
No, the kids won't be bitter or betrayed when they learn the truth. Galen's already figuring it out, and enjoying playing with the line between belief and reality. He talks of MommieClaus and DaddyClaus, but still rushes with baited breath to see what the old man put in his stocking. When he's fully ready to let go of the kiddie role, we'll do what our friend did with her older child - bring him in on the conspiracy, let him help preserve the magic for his little brother.
His little brother, now 7, still loves to believe. Christmas Eve he was busy clearing the living room so the elves wouldn't trip, and made me solemly swear to put the fire out so Santa wouldn't get burnt. All this in the face of big brother talking about the reality side - doesn't phase him a bit.
What truly makes me write with such authority is that Zekiah continues this full-on belief despite me being busted twice. Christmas morning he said that he'd heard Santa during the night. I said "Ya, I thought I heard him in the living room." He matter-of-factly put me in my place saying, "No Papa, that was just you. I know because you usually stay and kiss me after putting me back to bed, but last night you went into the living room and pretended to be Santa. But I heard him later on the roof."
I helped him patch up his belief system by laughing and saying that I was trying to trick Mama. But the other day was harder to swallow. The tooth fairy printed up her note a little too late at night, and didn't notice that Sarah had put used paper in the printer. The boys burst into the room with Galen joyously shouting, "I KNEW it! I knew you were the tooth fairy!" We tried to cover up by extolling the tooth fairy's environmental consciousness to break into mama's office and re-use paper, but Galen could see right through that.
Then the big moment came in class the other day. Talk about the veracity of the tooth fairy surfaced, and Zekiah loudly announced that he knew exactly who the tooth fairy is. As the teacher listened anxiously, he explained, "I have seen her. She is about one inch tall..." and continued with a detailed and fully believable description of the fairy. The tooth fairy is definitely female, in case you ever wondered.
Our children want magic, and deserve to live in that beautiful enchanted land as long as they will let themselves. Reality will come soon enough - for now my job is to help them keep those imaginary castle walls high and strong, so they are free to wander inside and create worlds of their choosing.
Write to Renew - One of our previous graduates, the talented Jay Nahani, is leading us in a Write to Renew workshop June 14th. For writers and non-writers alike, this one-d...