I had anticipated its arrival, had managed to skirt around it over Christmas. But, this time, the flight of my ten year old's question flew through still air, in the quiet room, landing... a direct hit... eye to eye, child to mother.
"Do you really want to know?" I asked. My son nodded, eyes pinning mine for a second then looking away. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. And, so I told him, as my mother told me all those years ago, when I asked her. "Yes, sweetie, it IS us."
Emotions washed across his face in quick succession...relief, surprise, and something that looked like...regret.
" Does that make you sad?" I asked softy.
"Maybe...a little. But, I STILL believe in Santa," said my son, King of Magical Thinking.
"We all believe in the magic of Santa," I said. "Did kids tell you at school?"
"I remember when a kid told me at school and I came home and asked Ma'Mai if it was true. She told me and I cried." He nodded in sympathy, his big blue eyes round as marbles.
"You mean you bought that keyboard?" he asked.
"Are we BROKE?! he exclaimed. "Because, that cost A LOT of money!"
Then... not quite ready to acknowledge the inevitability, he said "But, what about the hand print on the letter that Santa left?"
"Did you know that when Daddy was a little boy, he came downstairs on Christmas morning and there were foot prints coming out of the fireplace?" I asked.
Reflecting aloud he said, "Well, they probably stepped in there and stomped around."
I smiled and raised my eyebrows.
"I STILL believe in Santa. There really IS a Santa," he said with earnestness. And we moved on...