Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Santa Claus

My nine year old cousin Pico came home Friday heart broken, he’d been told by a friend that Santa Claus did not exist in disbelief he ran to his dad and asked him if this was true. My uncle decided it was time to tell his son the truth. The problem was that judging from Pico’s reaction he wasn’t ready to stop believing in Santa. As a former child I can tell you kids are not always ready to stop believing in the magical powers of Santa and the tooth fairy as quickly as adults think they are. Sometimes it’s not really the adult version of the truth kids are after, sometimes it’s the truth of childhood they want to be reassured about. The one in which magic beans, unicorns, and if you’re Latino el cuco and el chupa cabra really do exist.

I still hadn’t recovered from Pico’s sad little face when I sat down to breakfast on Saturday morning and six year old Abigail informed me that her mom my other uncle's ex Liz had told her that Santa Claus had died of old age. I was crushed. My mom glared at Abby’s mom, “why would you tell her something like that?” “Have you seen her list?! I can’t afford all that stuff!” Liz shot back at my mom. Just then Pico came over and told Abby,” you know what this means? The tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny are not real either.” He looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders Abby didn’t look so happy either. She wasn’t ready yet either. That’s when I told them about the Santa photos, picture proof of a visit Santa made to my house when I was a kid.

Pico obviously had forgotten about them. It was time to refresh his memory. The look of awe and amazement that spread over their faces as I slapped the photos on the table was priceless. Pico smiled at my mom and it was obvious to us that he knew . He would never believe again and I could tell he seemed saddened by it, I know I was. Then something happened. My mom winked signaling the start of a conspiracy between them. Just because he didn’t believe in Santa didn’t mean Abby had to stop. It is a right of passage in my family as we grow older and discover the truth we join ranks with our parents to keep the myth alive for the younger kids in the family. Pico was now an official Santa’s helper. Abigail jumped up and down in her seat and despite trying to play it cool Pico was obviously excited...

Abby: Wow! I knew he was real I just knew it! Santa is real! Look mommy he is real!

Her mother walked over inspected the photos and said, “Abby that’s Willie in a Santa costume !” Abby leaned in closer to inspect the photo of my then 20 something year old father.

Abby:Uh uh that’s not Willie mommy!

Pico walked over in a nonchalant way his eyes betraying his excitement began inspecting the pictures. “ Liz that’s not nino. My nino is not that fat!

He’s called my dad nino ever since he could talk. Nino is short for padrino which means godfather in Spanish.

Abby: You see mommy Santa is really real. He’s not dead mommy you lied to me!

Liz: No Abby I didn’t lie to you I would never lie to you Santa is dead. I’m the one that buys your presents.

My mom noticed the look of distress on Abby’s face she looked as if she were going to cry.

Mom: Abby honey mommy didn’t lie to you, she would never do that. She just didn’t have all of the right information. Look Santa is not dead. He is real. He is just retired.

Abby: I knew it! I knew it! Maggie what does that mean retired?

Mom: That’s when a person stops working because he is old and tired.

Abby: Santa was tired of kids?

Mom: No baby but he was old and after years and years of climbing in through chimneys and fire escapes his knees and back were shot! His body was worn out!

Abby: Did his wife make him stay home?

Mom: Well she didn’t make him stay home but his doctor felt it was best if he did. He still supervises the toy making and goes over the naughty and nice list but he doesn’t deliver the presents anymore instead he has the elves take turns doing that.

Abby: So mommy really buys all my presents?

we all leaned in waiting to hear my mom’s explanation of this one…it was obvious everything was riding on the response to this question… Abby’s need to believe and her mom’s credibility as a parent…

Mom: Yes Abby your mom buys all of your gifts…

Liz let out a sigh of relief and Abby frowned…but my mom wasn’t done yet she wasn’t about to let Abby down…

Mom: she buys all of them except for one special gift…

Abby perked up when she heard this and began jumping up and down again.

Mom: That one special gift Abby he leaves at someone’s house just for you…it could be at your grandma’s house…

mom looked at Liz and Liz nodded no…we’d later find out that her mom is a Jehovah’s witness and doesn’t celebrate holidays.

Mom: or.. or... or...

(mom was trying to think of something, her brain was working fast and furious...)

Mom: Sometimes Abby he leaves that one gift at an aunts or an uncles house like my house!

(nice recovery mom! I thought to myself )

Mom: As a matter of fact remember last year he left you a gift next to Nadine's?

Abby:Yeah the baby Bratz dolls! Why didn’t he send it to my house?

Mom: Because he knew you and Nadine were going to be coming to my house and he decided to save the elves a trip because my house is way closer to the route to the north pole than yours is.

Abigail was satisfied with the answers my mom had given her and went off to play with the biggest smile ever, content that there really was a Santa Claus. My parents went through great lengths to keep Santa alive for us when we were growing up. Heck my dad even tripped on the window sill once while climbing into our apartment and crash landed on his face in the living room chipping a bottom tooth. Cries of “shit, shit, double flubbing shit, and some more colorful ones in Spanish punctuated the pre-dawn hours of one Christmas morning. I mean sure it made us think that Santa Claus had the filthy mouth of a bilingual sailor that needed to be washed out with soap but none the less it kept us believing.

Hello my name is Mia and I believe in Santa Claus. True story.

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