Thursday, November 29, 2007

Damn "They". Where is my handbook?

Where is my Parents' Handbook? As a parent, there are just some things in life you are never quite ready for, and no one ever prepares you. Take, for instance, my kids and I were driving home from the mall the other day after having their pictures taken with Santa. While in the car, my 7 year old daughter said, "Hey mom, I don't know how to tell you this, but I know that the Santa we just met at the mall isn't real." I was quiet, not sure how to respond. "W-W-What? What do you mean? Santa's not real?" I asked pretending to be shocked.

"Well," she said, "Of course he is real, but I think all the mall Santas are fake and they are just filling in for the REAL Santa. The REAL Santa is too busy at the North Pole trying to get ready for Christmas and he doesn't have time to go to the malls. Plus, I don't think he wants all those kids sitting on his lap. I just wanted you to know that that Santa wasn't the REAL Santa." I couldn't help but smile. I looked in my rearview mirror and looked at my 9 year old son as he gave me a smile and a nod. Our secret smile and nod.

My son found out the "truth" about Santa, which I won't reveal here just in case some of you aren't privy to the truth, about two years ago. Ever since he figured it out, he seems to think it is very cool that he is in on the "secret". Whenever my daughter talks about Santa, I think he feels all grown up and gives me a secret smile and nod because he knows and she doesn't know. He puffs his chest out just a little, gives me a look, and well, I think he thinks he is becoming a man because he is in on the secret. He is growing up.

I wish I could freeze time and keep them little and innocent forever. I will miss the days of the letters to Santa and her hope that he will read her letter and bring her what she wants. I will miss putting out the cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer. It will be an end to something magical; as if the last of the childhood magic has be used up.

You know, this is the stuff "they" don't tell you about before you have kids. "They" don't tell you that it will make you sad when your kids no longer believe. "They" don't tell you that overnight they go from diapers, to riding bikes, to helping put out the presents. "They" don't tell you.

Part of me is sad that this could possibly be her last year of believing; I want her to be a little girl forever, but I know that isn't an option. I never knew something like this would make me feel sad. How come "they" didn't put this stuff in the Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't give me a Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't prepare me that my kids' growing up would make me feel sad? Damn "they".

(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.