It is now 12 months since I committed the crime. It began as such an ordinary day. I was trying to clean up. When the Princess Child approached me mid sweep.
“Mum, Sam* said his mum told him Santa wasn’t real. Santa is real isn’t he?”
Now look I’ve never been comfortable with the Santa thing, it always felt, well a little deceptive.
However, Hippie Child had breezed through, figured it out and then neglected to tell me she had figured it out (no way she was giving up on extra presents). Just the way it should be deception feeding further deception.
Princess Child is a different personality type. So there I am, ambushed, no preparation, in my head I thought, she’s about to turn 11 and go into Year 5, maybe it’s time. So I answered truthfully.
Turns out it wasn’t time.
The meltdown was immediate. “But I just asked Dad, he didn’t say that”. Really, your father made the right call? Unusual. Would have been nice if he could have given me a heads-up.
So like any self-respecting millenium baby she went away and googled it. Apparently the world wide web confirmed what I had said.
“I don’t believe this, you have been LYING to me for YEARS, why would you do that?”
Yes, why indeed.
I feebly talked about imagination, Christmas traditions. I tried to draw from the recesses of my aging mind the story of St Nicholas, declared that had been a real bloke once who did good things, and it had grown into this Santa Claus thing.
“How can I ever TRUST you again?”
By this time Hippie Child was trying to help.
“I know when I found out about the tooth fairy I was really upset …”
“The TOOTH FAIRY that’s a lie too? What about the EASTER BUNNY are you gonna tell me …”
The look on my face was enough.
“NO, all of them?”
There it was, in one fell swoop I’d massacred all the representatives of childhood magic.
My mother and Aunt Dorothy arrived for dinner. Princess Child wasn’t finished yet.
“Did you know about this?” she demanded.
Both looked desperately at the door to see if there was a clear run to freedom, but no, the usual mess, (shoes, bike, newspapers for recycling) meant it was going to be an obstacle course they couldn’t dodge with speed.
“So everybody knows. Now I’m gonna have to LIE to my children won’t I? Because that’s what everyone does.”
Well yep. Also, if you could not mention it to any of the other kids at school, just in case they haven’t had the TALK yet.
Now here we are 12 months later, I think she’s come to terms with the grief. However, being the negotiator she is, she has just reminded me that Hippie Child had an extra three years of Santa sacks to her and she wants her share. It wasn’t meant to be that way, I had said Santa didn’t come after you were 12, but because her sister was still getting stuff (and I have a Phd in mother guilt/treat all your children the same) there had always been a little present or two at the end of Hippie Child’s bed too – mental note – stick to the darn rules!
*Name changed to protect the innocent and because I can’t actually remember what the kid’s name was anyway.