I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me Santa.

“Mommy, tell me the truth.” My daughter, a very worldly third grader, stared at me with a grim expression. “Is Santa real or is it you and Daddy?”

The truth? If I continued with the story I’d been jabbering about for eight years, was it really a  lie? Or does it fall in that vague area of polite untruths we tell to loved ones like, “No really, I always hoped someone would buy me a Chia Pet for Christmas” or “No, those pants aren’t too snug.”

My second thought came from a place deep inside me. A grinch-like place that santa-clausfound stress in the secrecy surrounding the Santa myth. Like when my daughters would ask “Why is Santa all over the place if he’s one man” or “But so-and-so doesn’t have a fireplace so how does he get in the house?”

Yes, there are lies upon lies we tell to keep  myths alive.  It was starting to feel just plain wrong. I’m very upfront with my kids, perhaps at times to a flaw. So how could I reconcile my guilt with the pile of lies offered in the name of fun, like the easter bunny and tooth fairy?

I believed I had many years before anybody questioned my cute tales. But now my maturing daughter stood before me, touting a truth heard through the grapevine in her classroom. Yup, the grapevine in  Mrs. Trodhal’s third grade class was strong and scary,  but I’ll save the sex questions for another post.

“Well, honey, are you sure you REALLY want to know.”

She nodded, her expression quite serious.

I took in a deep breath. “No, Nicole. Santa isn’t real. Daddy and I buy you all the gifts.”

I launched into the history of St. Nick only to realize tears welled in her eyes so I stopped my explanation. “What’s wrong?”

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER“He’s not real?” Her face scrunched in agony, but I knew we’d have to plow though this.

“No. I’m sorry, honey. You said you really wanted to know.”

“But, but…” Her lower lip quivered and she sniffled a few times. “But Rudolph is real. Right?”

Tears blurred my vision.  I swallowed the hard lump in my throat and realized that sometimes the truth went down just as painfully. How could I answer this second probe?

I tried to buy time so I could think. “What?”

rudolph“Rudolph. He’s not pretend, is he?”

Then I did the only thing a mother could do. I took both her hands and stared into her large blue eyes. “Of course he’s real! Why wouldn’t he be?”

Her frown turned right side up into a wide smile. “Really?”

“Yup.” I wiped a spot on her damp cheek.  “That’s why we need to leave out some reindeer food on Christmas Eve. It’s hard work to fly around all night.”

She walked off, blissfully unaware that the existence of one and the denial of the other made no sense. I suppose by now (she’s twenty-three) she’s figured out the truth.

RudolphOh, and for the record, derby-wearing snowmen do come to life so they can sing on TV and elves CAN be dentists…but only if they attend dental school.

Do you believe?

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14 responses to “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me Santa.

  1. You’re talking to someone who has a fairy garden and talks to the resident fae-folk as a matter of course. 😛

  2. Nobody said parenting would be easy – which I rather resent, truth be told. My 12 y/o still holds it against me that she discovered lip gloss on Santa’s mug of eggnog one Christmas morning and has been thoroughly disillusioned ever since. Yet I continue to spin the myths, despite the fact that there’s only one little one left in my home. I’ve threatened the three oldest with dire and unearthly consequences if they bursts their little sister’s already fragile bubble of holiday beliefs. I’m sure I’ll do so forever, because that’s just how I roll. 😉

    • Lol, love the lip gloss on Santa’s cup. Well, maybe Mrs. Santa was helping that year, right?
      I’m glad you’re standing strong. In hindsight, I wish I had. Thanks for sharing that story, Angel!

  3. Haha, you’re living the fairy-tale dream my friend 🙂

  4. I remember my oldest son found out about the Easter Bunny because I hung a receipt for a big soccer type net we bought both boys to practice their baseball in, for Easter and said it was from the Bunny. I knew he was probably 3rd grade or so and could read and thought I’d hidden the receipt. The truth came out but I saved Santa Claus because that was his next question. Santa’s whole story is more believable than the Easter bunny by a long short and he believed me, or so he seemed. I guess I’ll never know for sure. I must say though the two boys were wonderful with their sister. Even when they were too old to write letters, they’d sit at the table with her and write theirs and then she’d mail all 3 in the special box at the Gaylordsville Post Office. And Santa wrote back to all three 😉

    • That’s so sweet the boys played along. Yeah, Santa is definitely more believable than the Easter bunny. Haha! But the Easter bunny is more believable than the tooth fairy, right? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Debbie!

  5. My 8-year-old granddaughter still hangs onto Santa and the Tooth Fairy The latter has been very generous recently. When Granddaddy was babysitting and the little one lost a molar, the Tooth Fairy left a big bill under the pillow. My daughter had to explain that the Tooth Fairy didn’t have change for a twenty, but that the winged one trusted the money would cover at least the next three teeth.

  6. Laurie Puliafico

    What do you mean Santa is not real? Who’s been buying me these gifts for the past 53 years and getting into my locked house even though I live alone? Really though, I can picture Nicole looking up at you and asking about Rudolph.

  7. Too bad she didn’t start off with Rudolph. It’s easier to believe in Santa than a reindeer with a glowing red nose. Just saying.

  8. You just burst my bubble. I still believe in Santa and you’re telling me he doesn’t exist. NOOOOOO!

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