However, we have not been anti Santa either. We will watch a holiday movie that has a Santa theme and we talk to the kids about the story of Santa, always making sure we tell them that it is a story. (There are many Santa history stories; but overall the ones I have heard make me believe that it is a wonderful story - and has been made into something more than it ever was in real life.) So, our version of the Santa story has been that there was a man years and years ago who made sure all the children in his village received something on Christmas morning. His generosity and love to the children are the parts of the story that we tell the kids that we love so much about this history / story of Santa. Our kids have grown up knowing 'about' Santa - but not believing 'in' Santa.
Through the years as the children were growing up they would ask us if we believed in Santa Clause and we would tell them the story and then tell them that we believe in the spirit (the heart giving attitude of this man named Santa from years gone by) but that he does not exist anymore in real life. That has been our story and how we have handled and 'done' Santa. That was true for Rachel. That was how we told Abbey about Santa. When James asked his questions about Santa that is how we handled them. Then there was Zak and even with his limited understanding at times he understood the story and history of Santa.
Then there was Anna...
She asked the believe question. We answered her in our well thought out and, up until now, successful way. She had asked us if we believed in Santa last year during the Christmas holiday. We gave her our explanation and concluded with: "While we don't believe in Santa, we love the story of his heart for giving and we believe in the spirit of Santa."
This did not suffice. She came right out and asked the question: "Well, is there really a Santa Clause?"
No problem. We can handle this question. We gave her the facts.
"No, Anna. There is not a Santa now; it's just a make believe story from something that happened years and years ago. There is no Santa now it is just a pretend story that is fun to hear."
I expected that to be the end of it in her three year old little mind. I was wrong.
"So there is no Santa?" She was probing.
Rob was gentle; but very firm: "No, there is no Santa. It is just a story that some people pretend."
She went on, "Then you and Mommy don't believe in Santa?"
Rob confirmed to her that we did not believe in Santa, "That's right, Anna. There is no such thing as Santa Clause."
Then Anna, sounding more like she was eight and had believed in the story for her entire life said, "Well, I believe..."
It threw us. None of the other kids had 'believed' in that sense of the word. It was not part of our Christmas traditions or celebrations.
Her insistence on Santa's reality continued. This is how it was the entire holiday season last year. She told all of our friends she believed. She told Rob she believed. She told me that she believed. Never, not one time, did we go along with this mindset she had. We told her the truth and she told us what she believed. Over and over again.
Then, she saw him! At the grocery store. In Mayville, Wisconsin no less! She ran up to him and told him that she knew he was real and needed her picture taken so she could show her Dad that he did exist.
She carried in the 'proof' to Rob when she ran in with the picture from Piggly Wiggly! The holiday season ended last year by taking down the picture and her telling Rob once again that he really did exist.
It was all the same this year. She told me that she did believe in Santa as we put up the Christmas trees. She told me that she loved Santa and that she knew he would come and bring her presents this year.
I could bear it no longer. I put the other kids to bed and told her that I needed to talk to her. Hot chocolate sat in the mugs in front of us and with the Christmas lights twinkling and the house was completely quiet I had her full and complete attention. I looked her right in the eye and told her that Santa was not real. That it was a nice story but it was not real. Just pretend.
"Like, Strawberry Shortcake?"
I nodded, "Yes, like Strawberry Shortcake."
"Oh, I know that, Mommy."
I explained that I wanted her to know the truth. We went to bed with me surprised at how much she understood and how well she took that.
Then, we went to the mall today to get her hair cut. Santa was there. She wanted to see him. I caved in and said that we could. We stood in line and waited for our turn. We waited for 15 minutes. Finally, we were at the front of the line - the next ones to see him. She has been so excited. Suddenly, she got really quiet. The boy behind her said that it looked like his beard was real - not fake.
That did it. She looked up at me and told me she did not want to do this. I was surprised at her reaction. She still was insistent that she wanted to go.
Then, she turned around and looked at the family behind us, "I don't even believe in Santa!" She was matter fact and to the point. The father of the family asked her if she was just scared. She shook her head no and said it again, "I don't even believe in Santa!" Then she turned to me, "What am I doing here? I don't even believe." She then took my hand and pulled it to go.
The man smiled at her as I excused ourselves from leaving the line. Anna looked right up at him and said, "I am going to go tell my Daddy what I want for Christmas. It works the same way."
We then walked away and head toward Chick Fil A where Daddy was working. When Dad came out she ran up to him and told him all about what she wanted for Christmas. She had quite a list.
Somehow watching Rob holding her and listening as she talked to him about her Christmas wishes I thought, "Finally, it is how it should be." Somehow in her mind today it all came together. As Rob kissed her and told her he had to get back to work I was thankful that we had been insistent upon the truth; but glad we were willing to explain to her the story; but even more thankful that we allowed for her to come to her belief on her own.
Perhaps I learned a life lesson today, I can't make my children believe truth; but I can be confident in truth as I present it to my children. I think that when they come to believe something on their own -then it is truly their belief - not mine. Something to remember for the future - with this one, I think I am going to need this life lesson. LOL.
Trust you are enjoying and building memories with your family this weekend.
Labels: Time to Speak (of family)