Sometimes my daughter can be extremely smart and devastatingly dense at the same time. Her Santa Claus reveal is a perfect example.
A few years ago, when Dimples was 6, she started making little comments that hinted at her suspicions of Santa’s true identity. One night close to Christmas, Cap’n Firepants had to work late. Dimples and I were eating dinner, and she suddenly blurted out, “Mom, are you Santa Claus?”
Dimples has always been a pretty logical person. I could have dodged the question, feeling quite comfortable in saying “no” because I actually am not Santa Claus. I’m Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, and that’s burden enough. But I knew what she was asking, and I decided to honor the spirit of her question.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked. Because there is no going back once that question gets an honest answer. Step over that line and part of your childhood is gone and, quite frankly, part of the parents’ childhood is gone, too. Because we all live vicariously through the innocent joy and anticipation of our children during the Christmas season.
“Yes,” Dimples responded without hesitation. Remembering how bummed I was when my mother finally gave me the affirmative answer to my own Santa question, and the betrayal I’ve felt ever since whenever someone insists on giving me T.M.I. on something I preferred to believe was magical, I was still reluctant to eradicate the entire North Pole franchise over a meal of fish sticks and macaroni. But, unless I was imagining things, Dimples seemed almost hopeful that I would debunk this myth she had barely believed all along.
“I am,” I said.
Her eyes widened, and a big smile slowly widened across her face.
“I knew it!” she said. She wasn’t bragging about solving the mystery. Instead, she acted like I had just confirmed that I had my own super powers. Like I was the one hopping into a souped up air-surfing vehicle every Christmas Eve with the intention of criminally trespassing a billion times in one night so I could leave behind a few gifts the elves had bought online from Walmart.
“This is so cool!” she exclaimed.
She couldn’t contain herself, leaping off her chair and giving me a hug (a rare demonstration from Dimples, who usually offers her back to you when you try to show too much affection) – apparently noticing that I was taking this news a whole lot harder than she was.
After a few minutes of one-sided celebration, she suddenly stopped, and looked up at me with a very earnest expression on her sweet face.
“Does Daddy know?”