My husband and I are both honest folks. However, my husband can be a bit of a smart ass. I mean that in the nicest way. I tend to be gullible and fall for his lines repeatedly, so we make a great pair. It typically provides us both with a good laugh.
Since our little guy is new to the concept of sarcasm he makes a prime target for his dad’s little jokes. He has caught on to his father’s tricks and now when he hears something that doesn’t quite sound right he immediately looks at me and asks if it is true. He knows I won’t lie to him, he knows me to be a truth teller.
Little does he know that I’m the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, elf, St. Nicholas, and Santa Claus. Poses a bit of a moral dilemma for me. When he was really little I was torn about making a big deal out of Santa. Part of me wanted him to focus on the reason for the season, I wanted him to know we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and not some old guy dressed in red at the mall. Part of me wanted his dad and I to get credit for the amazing gift that he really wanted- after all we were the ones who paid for it and stayed up into the wee hours assembling it. Greedy of me, I know. Part of me didn’t want to lie.
Tradition won out. And I’m glad it did. Around my first Christmas as a mom I heard someone talk about the opportunity you have as a parent – it is up to parents to create the traditions that your children will remember forever. I remember loving the notion that his future memories were in my hands. It is my hope that he looks back years from now and remembers an abundance of love and a bit of magic.
I think traditions are important and play a powerful role in shaping us. So while tradition brought life to imaginary characters, more importantly it illustrated something to me. Our son’s untarnished innocence welcomes all this fun. His willingness to believe a stuffed elf can make candy canes grow from gumdrops overnight demonstrates his openness to believe whatever else is presented to him. It reminds me the importance of the words we speak, the values we practice, the work ethic we display, and most importantly the faith we profess. He truly is a sponge. Ready to soak up whatever is there, let’s hope it’s not a mess.
So how did I go from downplaying Santa to lying everyday for a month about an elf? I want his childhood to be magical. I’m all in. So I sneak about before I go to bed posing a stuffed elf in hopes of hearing giggles in the morning. All while risking my reputation as a truth teller. Someday, soon enough, he will find out the truth. I hope he won’t be too disappointed with me. Because there is such joy in believing. So maybe, hopefully, when he no longer believes in the cast of childhood characters, he will still believe in us and the love we tried to show him.