About a week ago, I went into the five-year-old’s room and he was crying. This was nothing new, but since he had eaten all his dinner, didn’t punch the baby and had flushed the toilet, I was actually concerned about the reason “why” he was so upset.
As he choked back his tears, he looked at me and said, “Dad, that kid (no names) at school said he didn’t believe in Santa Claus and Santa wasn’t real!” He burst into tears again. “Dad, is that true? Do you believe in Santa Claus?” He was looking for some kind of answer.
As a parent you never want to lie to your children, but you don’t want to break their hearts either. If he had asked me my thoughts on Obamacare or if I believe we need a space program, that would have been a different conversation. But this was actually important and would affect the rest of his life.
I decided to play the “semantics card.” He asked me if I believed in Santa, not if Santa was real – two totally different conversations.
I wiped off his tears, put him on my knee (which seemed to be a thematic thing to do) and shared my thoughts with him.
“Yes, buddy, I do believe in Santa Claus. I believe in miracles and to me Santa is a miracle. He’s unexplainable, but awesome. Just like you, your sister and even your brother. Before you three were born, I wasn’t sure about miracles, but now that you are here, I know they exist.”
That was the ticket! Now happy again, the Santa issue was over and it was time for bed. As I tucked him in, told one million stories and sang 18 thousand songs, he looked up at me and said “Dad, I don’t care what that kid thinks. I believe in Santa.”
Will he eventually learn “the truth” about Christmas, the Easter Bunny and about how much the Cubs stink? Yes, but for now, why not share a little magic and miracles with your kids?
The world has become a “now, now” place, with information flying around at the speed of light. You can Google Earth the North Pole in Alaska and it brings up a store. Sure, it has made us more informed, but it has taken the tarnish off the idea of “miracles.” Between cats singing like Elvis and a tomato that looks like Ginger Zee, we see the bizarre, interesting and unique every day. To the point that they become, well, something you see every day.
My children are miracles to me, I call them Miracle, Blessing and Gift. Though they can make me nutty, I try to find small things in them every day that makes me appreciate how lucky I am. I also try and point out the small miracles that make our world so magical, from a great sunset to a Bulls win. There are always things to appreciate and celebrate every day and every season.
So, if you ask me if I believe in Santa I will tell you: “I believe in the great idea that there is someone so good and happy that his one goal in life is to bring joy to children all over the world. I believe in his message of happiness and hope. I believe that, at the very least, one day a year all children should feel special, happy and loved. I believe that I am one of his helpers, just like my parents were and hopefully, some day when they are old enough, my kids will be to. Yes, I believe in Santa Claus.”
This holiday season, when everything finally slows down and the commercials finally end, I hope that you find the time to find a miracles in your family and in the New Year.