Our Christmas routines as children were almost always the same. On Christmas Eve night, we would go look at Christmas lights with my grandparents and when we returned, Santa had always arrived. Yes, we always just missed him, but he sent wonderful messages to my parents about how great of kids we were. Then, overnight, he would come by again - and, of course, we would miss him again.
The Christmas of my second grade year, Michele and I were ready to stage a strike. We had deduced that this trip to see Christmas lights was what was keeping us from meeting the big man in the red suit - and this time we wanted to hear the words from him ourself. So, I remember vividly standing in the kitchen of my parents' house talking to mom and dad about our request to stay home - their response was shocking. (and one we still give them a hard time about). They proceeded to tell us the "truth". We were stunned and near tears. Clearly, this discovery didn't happen naturally - we tried to hang on to any shred of hope we could. OK, so Grandpa and Grandma bring the presents on Christmas Eve night - but surely Santa still comes overnight. "Right?" It was just a few months later, that, while driving over the Mohawk River bridge (amazing how you can remember these 'defining moments' with such vividness) we proceeded to drill Mom on the reality of the Tooth Fairy, Rudolph, and the Easter Bunny. You blow one, and all of a sudden the reality of the others is shot too.
So, this post is written with timeliness. Twice now, my son has asked, "Is Santa real?" this week. The first time was followed up with, "because Savannah at school says he's not" (evil child...). The second time, with all the kids including cousins in the car was followed up with, "because Traig doesn't think so either". So, when we got home, I pulled the boys into the bathroom and had a secret chat with them. I explained they could believe what they felt was true in their hearts, but not to ruin the fun for the girls. They agreed. Late last night as we drove to our annual Christmas snow laden retreat for a week (I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am right now...) - we chatted with Brayden all about St. Nick - how and why he gave out presents, the spirit of Santa and such. (Mikayla was asleep). Bless his heart, Brayden simply said, "When I grow up, I want to be Santa to others every day." I guess if the innocence is going to be lost, this is the best you could possibly hope for. (A far cry from what Michele and I went through - I should have added that year to our Christmas Calamities list!).
Here's a picture of our Sunriver crew taken last year (minus Michael, he'll get here tonight...) Looking forward to a lot of fun new pics this year-