Last night I packed up Christmas. My favorite holiday season. I always feel a sense of wonderment disappearing into the boxes to be put away until next time. A feeling of sadness engulfed me as I boxed up ornament and my thoughts drifted to ponder how this was most likely the last Christmas my second-born daughter would be swimming in the whimsical beliefs of magic.
What I did not anticipate, however, was her learning the truth about an hour after I placed my Christmas tree in the box. I had unknowingly left the lil-tooth-fairy-word-document open on my laptop from 23 Dec 2019 when she had lost her 9th tooth. Closing the laptop in quick secrecy, I never opened it again over the Winter Break as I was immersed in R&R and quality-family-time. Just so happened my Maycee stumbled upon the digital version of the very note left under her pillow just two weeks ago after playing Mindcraft with her baby sister. “I was just closing out all the tabs down here, and saw this…” she said ever-so-lightly, pointing to the screen…
My heart sank. I wasn’t ready. The tears on her face just about broke my heart as it was obvious she wasn’t ready. I hugged her for a very long time. Encouraging her to join the family at the dinner table, she proved resilient. But, I knew. It was time for the letter. Now. Otherwise, my strong-willed-child would fixate on the meaning behind that digital note she uncovered, and it would fester. She is a lot like me…
About five-and-a-half years ago, I handed my first born, Marina, a version of this letter on 21 July 2014 on the back-porch of my Momma’s house. It was the summer after 4th grade, and just 7 weeks after she turned 10.
Much has changed since Marina’s letter, so I had to edit it special for Maycee. Godwink moment- Maycee is actually in the middle of 4th grade, but, coincidentally-and-unplanned, was exactly 7 weeks after turning 10 last night. (Insert gasp here at the realization of HIS timing in EVERYTHING!)
I must give credit to Martha Brockenbrough, whom I emulated – then and now – her letter to her daughter, “The Truth About Santa,” in 2009.
I chose to read this out-loud to Maycee last night after tucking her into bed.
7 January 2020
You have asked a series of very good questions: “Is Santa real?” “Are you Santa?” “I want to know the truth about all of them: Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid, Sandman…”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to these questions for a long time. I’ve had to give them careful thought to be sure you are ready and to know just what to say. With the help of other loving Mommies in the world, here are the answers.
The answer is no, I am not Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid or Sandman. There is no one Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Cupid, or Sandman.
I am one of the people who fills your stocking with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree the same way Meemaw, PaPa, Grandma June, and Pappy did for me, and the same way their moms and dads did for them. Sometimes, we have help from our elf-friends better known as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who help us find the perfect presents. And, yes, your Daddy does these sweet things for you also because his mom and dad did them for him because their parents did the same for them. And, yes, your Donalddy helps me do these sweet things for you also because his mom and dad did them for him because their parents did the same for them. I imagine (& hope) you will someday do this for your children. I know you will love seeing them run into the room on Christmas morning in their matching pajamas with rustled hair and sleepy yet excited eyes filled with wonder. You will love seeing them bubbling with anticipation as they sit near the tree with their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
I am also one of the people who designs your special Tooth Fairy note encouraging you to care for your teeth with each passing lost tooth as your “big,” beautiful teeth grow. I am also one of the people who pinches Easter Bunny pawprints on the tile, carpet, and table to fancy your mind of the egg hunting to come. I am one of the people who champions Cupid’s desire for all of us to find true, genuine, sweet love so that you, my child, will experience God’s pure intention of marriage: a respectful and lifelong friendship. I am one of the people who trusts that Sandman will sprinkle sweet-dream-dust upon your resting head to keep the bad dreams at bay. I imagine (& hope) you will lift pillows to leave notes and rewards for little pearly whites lost. I imagine (& hope) you will pinch Bunny pawprints with flour to spread springtime magic for your lil’s. I imagine (& hope) you will be a hopeless romantic despite our world so that your children will have the courage to find true love by watching you. I imagine (& hope) you will hug bad dreams away in the middle of the night and call upon the Sandman to nestle your babies back to sleep.
This won’t make you Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid, or Sandman though.
Santa and all his remarkable friends are bigger than any one person, and their work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What they do is simple, but it is powerful. They teach children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch much like our God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We rely on faith.
Having faith is a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe in yourself, in your friends, in your talents, and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in ideas you can’t measure or even hold in your little hand. Most importantly, I am referring to love: that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during the darkest, coldest moments. Love truly gets you through life’s most difficult trials. Love is shared in many relationships such as family, friends, and marriage.
Santa and his friends are teachers. I have been their student. Now, you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve. Now, you know the secret of how the Easter Bunny reaches every little house leaving behind pawprints. Now, you know the secret of how the Tooth Fairy, so tiny, gets underneath your sleeping head resting on a pillow to leave a big note and reward. Now, you know the secret of how Cupid manages to keep the innocence of true love alive. Now, you know how Sandman brings sweet dreams. They have help from all the people whose hearts they’ve filled with joy, wonder, and above all, hope.
With full hearts, people like your Daddy, Donalddy, and me (and your grandparents and/or aunts and uncles when you lose a tooth and we are not there) take our turns helping Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid and Sandman do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no, I am not Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid, or Sandman. Santa and his friends are love and magic and hope and happiness. I am on their team though. Now, you are, too. You, my sweet, second-born child, get to join all of us in keeping the childlike wonder alive for Dylan, so that we can instill faith and love in her, too.
I love you, and I always will,
P.S.: Shelby & Winter fly to the north pole with help from us, too. You get to join Marina & Kilea in setting up Daisey every night after Dylan goes to bed during Christmastime.
Even blending families can make the wonderment of Christmas special for all ages. I hope you choose to keep the spirit and magic of Santa and his friends alive for all of your children.