Parenting | Believe in Magic
Every December I hit The Wall. We can’t exactly call it exhaustion from shopping, because up until then I’ve pretended that the holiday’s not coming and so haven’t shopped at all. But around the 11th, I suddenly remember that I have these children who will be expecting presents. Kids who write long emotional letters to the Jolly Old Elf that start out “Dear Santa, I know that many children are too thick headed (sorry, but it’s true) to believe in you, but I for one do because I’ve heard you on my grandma’s roof.”
This is it, I grumble to my husband. I just want to blow that whole Santa thing wide open. “Santa” shouldn’t be bringing them anything! They don’t need anything! NOT A THING. Can’t we just tell them about the motherless children in Haiti who need our help? My husband, wise man that he is, has heard this every early December for the last 10 years, and has learned not to respond.
Generally speaking, in a couple of days I come to my senses and begin to fill my Amazon cart.
But this December 14, I watched with horror and heart breaking as news reports came in about ‘bad guys’ and guns and first graders whose gifts would never be greeted with screams of joy. About parents who would only ever know their childrens’ last cries were those of fear.
More graphically than ever – more viscerally, even – the crushing realization came that Christmas is not mine to ‘blow wide open’. The holidays, more than any other time of year, are the time to tell stories of magic, to allow these growing children to believe that anything is still possible.
My role as parent in December? It is not that of a truthteller, a naysayer, a realist. My job, as parent, is to let them believe, for as long as they want to deliberately ignore contradictory evidence. My job is to let them believe that goodness wins, believe that parents aren’t always practical, believe that even though one is budding awkward bumps and growing 3 inches in 3 months, one might still get a doll for Christmas.
This year, more than any other: this year, I want to let them keep magic.