Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End of an Era

"Santa's not real! I know he's not real!" The blatant declaration bellowed in my face as Michael climbed in the car after being dropped off by the school bus. "I'll tell ya' how I know, too!"

What does a mom say to that as her heart breaks silently watching another piece of her baby's innocence being wiped away?

He quoted his speculations, clearly repeating what other kids at school had fed him, stealing his childlike faith, rushing him ever closer to independence and adulthood. Sometimes I really hate that he goes to public school. But I can't protect him forever from the outside influences of the world-he'll have to face all the reality eventually. This is just the beginning of the crumbling, the conforming. I still don't have to like it.

Rather than plead Santa's case, I simply changed the subject. Privileges were hanging in the balance of his behavior in class that day. If he'd lost minutes, he'd lose bowling and time out and about with Sissie, who we've been counting the days until she'd get here (later this afternoon!! Yay!) At last, a day without a loss of minutes--again. That last minute's saving grace. Somehow he always manages to behave himself on Fridays when weekend fun is looming. Now I just need a way to make that threat more imminent throughout the earlier portions of the week and maybe salvage some of his teacher's sanity the rest of this school year...

So he's ready to let go of Santa. I thought we'd get one more year at least, he was so desperate to hold on to his belief earlier this season. It's also a little letting go of the apron strings and I'm oh so not ready for that. Isn't it enough he hit double digits this year? I look at my baby's sweet face and he's changing. Softer, younger features slowly disappearing as he gets a little more mature...round, chubby cheeks giving way to cheekbones, big adult teeth filling in his silly toothy grin, curling bangs dangle over eyebrows as he won't allow me to crop his locks to a quick crew cut anymore. He wants hair long, like his friend, Andrew, across the street. Fifteen year old Andrew--how fast five more years will go and I'll be looking at an almost man standing there in place of my sweet baby boy...

No more Santa. I've written Santa's name on some of his packages. Santa used to get all the credit. Then, was it last year? Michael said Dad and I didn't ever get him anything for Christmas, only Santa. Uh...hmmm...This year I did put our names on some of those tags, but still left room for some credit for Santa. I'm leaving it. Maybe there's a tiny shred of belief buried in growing boy's heart, a minute flame still kindled. I'm not ready to let go. Not just yet.

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