The other night our eight-year-old asked if Santa was real.
I was expecting this moment to arrive for a while. I wasn’t shocked. She is able to distinguish between fact and fantasy and she knew something wasn’t right. Still, it was a difficult conversation to have. We tried to side-step it. We tried to get her to draw her own conclusions. We even discussed the history of Santa and why legends survive long past the person they’re based on. Yet, through it all she continued to ask, “So, is he real?” We could side-step the answer no more. It was time to tell her.
There were some tears. My husband took our daughter aside and comforted her. She knew the truth and wanted us to confirm her suspicions, and yet, we watched as something seemed to slip away from her.
We told her, “But magic is real in a way. Our minds are able to create anything. You can create anything you want. That’s the real magic we’re all given—the gift of imagination. We make magic real through our stories, our song, and our art.”
Yesterday, when our kids came home from school, I told them there was a surprise. I had spent the day painting one of the walls in their room. Through the magic of a couple quarts of chalkboard paint, a brush and an afternoon spent watching paint dry, the wall had been transformed into one giant chalkboard.
I walked the kids into their room for the unveiling. They took a moment to gasp, offer their enthusiastic thanks and then they went straight to work. My son drew a picture of his sister and himself on a large magical racetrack that stretched from one wall to the other. And my daughter? Well, she chose to create a little magic of her own.