Friday, April 25, 2014

Losing A Little Bit of Childhood Magic

There comes a time with every kid when they really start to question whether the Easter bunny, Tooth fairy and the big guy-Santa are real.  I remember being about 7 or 8 when I realized the Easter Bunny and Tooth fairy weren't real, but held on to the idea of Santa until 9 or 10.  Sonya is 9 1/2.  The difference between us though is I never questioned my mom or dad about it, because I never wanted the answer.  As far as my mom knows I still believe in Santa.  Sonya, on the other hand, has always been a little to curious for her own good.  

I remember last year after St. Patrick's Day when the "leprechauns" came to our house, Sonya asked me then if I had done the antics she and her sisters thought the leprechauns had done.  I, of course denied it.  Over the year though, she started questioning me about other things, like the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.  The Elf on the Shelf in December brought on a constant line of questioning- "Are you moving it?", "Is it really you putting him places?", "Does he really go anywhere?"  She was always suspicious and I just did my best to avoid her questions so as not to blatantly lie to her.  Then she asked the big one, "Are you Santa Clause?"

To which I answered, "Do I look like a fat man in a red suit with a beard?"

"Well, no," she replied.

"Then I guess I'm not Santa," I told her.  See, not lying, just avoiding.  

I was getting tired of avoiding though, and to be honest I hated that she kept asking me in front of her little sisters.  I mean it's one thing for her to get it and know, but they are still little and I'm not ready for them ALL to not believe.  I decided at some point this year we would have to talk about it, but I just wasn't sure when.  Then my opportunity came one night a couple of weeks ago when we were eating dinner.  I'm not sure what brought it up or why.  Perhaps it was talk of the Tooth fairy since they each had a lose tooth.  All I remember is Sonya saying again,

"Are you the leprechauns and the tooth fairy?"

I think I gave some sort of vague, "I don't know why you would think that," kind of answer.   I tried to change the subject, but she persisted and mentioned something about me maybe being Santa and Georgia said to Sonya, 

"Mommy isn't Sthanta!!"  Then she whipped her head over to me and said, "Are you??"

That was it.  I had to talk to Sonya about this.  I couldn't let the little girls lose their magic yet, even though Sonya's was all but snuffed out.  So after I put Lana and Georgia to bed that night I called Sonya into the kitchen. 

"Come here I want to talk to you for a second," I said.

"Oookkkaayy..." she was hesitant.  

"So you keep asking about the leprechauns and tooth fairy." I said.

"Yeah," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders, "Because I think it might be you doing it. Are you?" 

"What do you think?" I put it back to her.

"I'm not sure, I think you might be.  Are you??"

I sighed and looked at her, "Well, yes."  

"You ARE??!" She was a little upset.

"You knew that already, Sonya.  Isn't that why you kept asking?" I said to her.

"Yeah, I guess.  Wait! Ooohhh,  You are??"  

Then a little light went off in her head,  "Wait! Are you Santa too?"

Well, I certainly wasn't going to say "Those other silly things are totally made up, but the jolly guy who goes around the world, breaks into houses just to leave presents to good kids, he's totally real!" 

So I just gave her a "you already know the answer to this one too" look.  

"You're Santa?!" She said a bit shocked.  Then, then she started crying.  

It was around then that my heart fell out of my chest and shattered into a million little pieces right next to the place where I smashed my daughters.  I'm still trying to find a few missing pieces.  

"You are?!" She said again through tears.

"I'm sorry girlie," I said hugging her.  I explained to her that doing all those things when she was little was fun for everyone.  After all, didn't she have fun believing in Santa and the Tooth fairy?  She admitted she did.  I found a great letter a mom had written to her daughter when she asked about Santa.  I thought the mom's response was perfect and had saved it for this occasion.  I had Sonya read it hoping it would make her feel better.  

It didn't make her feel completely better but I think it helped a bit.  At some point during this wonderful coming of age hour, Andy came home from work and he also tried to help the transition.  We told her how she could help us now with the little girls.  Easter was coming up and she could help with the baskets.  This seemed to cheer her up a bit, although to be honest, I think she could have care less about Easter Bunny, the leprechauns or the Tooth fairy even.  The one that hurt her the most was Santa.  I get it.  I was devastated too when I finally came to terms with it myself.  It sucked.  What I worried about most though, was her becoming one of those people who felt "betrayed" by her parents and that she wouldn't want to do this with her own kids.  So we talked about why we did this and how we were doing Santa's job, like the letter said.  Would she have not wanted us to do this and would she have rather thought there was never a Santa?  The answer for her was no.  She loved every minute of it and was glad she had believed in him, and the others, once.  

I also made it very clear that she was not to tell her sisters about this.  I wasn't too worried about that though.  Sonya likes to be in with the parents and have secrets like this.  It makes her feel important and grown up.  Which is kind of ironic, because one of the things she kept saying  that night was how it made her feel sad and that she didn't want to grow up and know this stuff.  I knew she would keep the secret though and she was excited to help play Easter Bunny soon.

After all the tears and talking for about an hour, we finally sent her to bed.  She seemed to be okay, but a little sad.  Later on that night I was telling Andy how bad I felt.

"Do you think I ruined her for life?" I asked, mostly joking but half serious.

"Yup," he said sarcastically. "She's going to need therapy for a while."

"Andy!" I yelled at him.

"Seriously?  Every kid finds out about Santa at some time," he pointed out.

I guess that's true, I just felt bad that I had to be the one to tell her.  Why couldn't she just have kept her mouth shut like I did when I was a kid? I never questioned my mom.  Mostly because I didn't want the answer I had to give Sonya.  

Then the very next day she and Lana lost a tooth.  It was Lana's 5th tooth and the first tooth Sonya has lost in a year and a half.  It was one of the bigger ones.  Lana immediately when to write her letter to the tooth fairy upon losing her tooth.  This is something the girls have always done.  Sonya did start it.  Then I saw Sonya at her desk writing something as well.  

"Don't come in here!" She yelled.  "I don't want you to see this yet."

"Okay," I said.  

She played along with the whole tooth fairy gig and put her tooth in the tooth bear next her bed as did Lana.  She had put a note and picture next to it like she always had, but asked me not to look until I came to get it later.  I agreed.  

That night  I got this letter and picture:

The letter reads:

Dear "ToothFairy"

This is what my tooth fairy will look like when I'm older.  It's for you to always remember when I lost teeth.  Her name is Sylvia Flower Power.  I love u.


PS She stands!

Yeah, she's going to be okay.  I, however, will not.  I think I cried for about an hour.  

No comments: