When my parents returned, they seemed very different. They brought us presents and allowed us access to unlimited portions of Irish chocolate. The change in them was so peculiar, it was clear in my mind that they had become victims of body snatching while on holiday. You see, my real parents would never shower us with gifts. Alien invasion was the only reasonable conclusion.
It is for similar reasons that my big kids still believe in Santa. Santa brings them stuff they know I would never buy. It is easy to believe in Santa when you are being raised by a mother who is both mean and cheap. The idea that I would actually buy toys and other nonsense is so outrageous to them that logic dictates Santa must be responsible for such kindness.
The part of me that wants to spoil them rotten and see those little faces light up loves that Santa exists. There are many things I won’t buy them because I don’t like the brand, messaging, batteries, etc. Explaining why I don’t like those products is a valuable teaching opportunity. Being Santa allows me to indulge them with something they want without having it come from Mom.
But this year I have a new dilemma. My eleven-year-old son truly believes in Santa. He also believes in the Tooth Fairy. He is not faking it or desperately/sentimentally trying to hold on to the magic. He believes in Santa because he has autism. Some things are taken very literally, and the Santa thing has played out like this:
- Mom says there is a Santa and Tooth Fairy
- Mom does not lie to me
- Therefore, there is a Santa and Tooth Fairy
I’m happy he believes for his younger siblings, but I’m breaking a sweat imagining him standing around with his buddies at recess, defending the existence of the Tooth Fairy to a bunch of Gr. 6 boys.
So, I think this is the year I have to sit him down and tell him that I’ve been lying to him for eleven years. Then ask him to keep the lie alive for his brothers and sisters. Then hope he doesn’t think I’m lying about everything else.