I am a complete and total dork face. It’s true. I knew that unicorns and fairies existed. I knew that if I talked to my mirror long enough someone would step through and take me to the other side. I watched movies like The Neverending Story and The Labyrinth over and over again. (BTW – If I had been Sarah, I would have totally let The Goblin King keep my half-brother.) I had grand adventures in the backyard in a fantasy world that I created only to tide me over until I figured out how to make it to the “real” fantasy world. I know, I know! I already told you I was a dork face.
With all this, I also believed in Santa Claus, much longer than your average bear, or kid for that matter.
CURTAIN RISES and I am in P.E. coming out of the stinky girls bathroom when a gaggle of girls walked over to me. I ignore them and get a drink out of the fountain, hoping they will go away. They don’t.
Head Mean Girl: Someone said you still believe in Santa Claus?
Me: (I want to say “I do,” but I just look at them – deer+headlights=me)
HMG: Your parents give you presents, stupid.
Me: (Staring at the ground) I know. But Santa Claus does too.
HMG: He doesn’t exist. He’s made up.
Me: Maybe he doesn’t bring you things because you don’t believe in him.
HMG: Do you really think some fat guy breaks into your house and gives you presents every year? You are such a baby Tracy.
They laugh – walk away – I cry (because I am a baby).
What happens in next is the stuff parent nightmares are made of. Sort of. (Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh!) A few days later, during Christmas Break, I decide to have a heart-to-heart with me ol’ mum, aka Gidget, about Santa’s existence.
CURTAIN RISES, Mom and I are getting things together for Christmas. The sun is shining through the windows, casting everything in a warm glow. A song bird can be heard in the large magnolia tree in the front yard. (Shut it. This is my memory, not yours.)
Me: Some of the girls at school said that Santa wasn’t real.
Gidget: Did they? (When Moms don’t want to talk about something they ask questions like that. I now know that because I do it too.)
Me: Is he?
Gidget: Well. If you bel-
Me: I don’t want to know any of that spirit of Christmas stuff, or if I believe – I want to know if there is a fat guy at the north pole that brings presents to people – yes or no?
Gidget: (One of the loudest sighs ever not recorded) No.
Suddenly clouds fill the sky, rain pours and the thunder rolls. The room is now a hazy shade of winter, leaves are brown and the bird that was singing in the tree was struck by lighting and is fricasseed on the front lawn.
Me: (Crying the loudest cry that has ever not been recorded I wail-)YOU’RE A LIAR!! YOU’VE BEEN LYING TO ME ABOUT EVERYTHING! WHY WOULD A PARENT LIE TO THEIR CHILDREN!!!
I would like to say END SCENE here and tell you that I quietly cried in my room and got over it, but that’s not what happened.
I like theater. I like to pretend I am a theater person. I act like I’m an actress. What I’m trying to say is – I have a tendency to overreact to things. (Some people may refer to me as a Drama Queen. I think that’s pushing it a little too far. I’m more of a Drama Countess.)
What happened next? I ran crying and sobbing up the stairs to my sister’s bedroom to ruin Christmas for her too. And then my mother had two hysterical girls on her hands. Well – one hysterical girl and one normally crying younger sister. Then Dad came home to the crying chaos – only to be mad as well because Gidget didn’t just lie to me again. It wasn’t pretty y’all. It was the kind of stuff Jerry Springer is made of. That is, if Jerry Springer hosted a show about a not really dysfunctional family that gets along really well except for a few political differences, loves each other a whole lot, and has quite a few odd quirks including a crazy oldest child.
My world seriously had just caved in, so it was at that moment that I swore I was not going to lie to my kids about Santa Claus. I think I may have given Super Awesome Husband this info on our third date. (I wasn’t messing around. For real. I asked SAH to marry me about a month after that. Yes. A month after our third date. That’s a story for another post.) He didn’t agree, but he loves me, so that’s what we did.
We told Max & Mr. Schmee that Santa was a fun, jolly old fellow that we like to pretend exists, but doesn’t really. He’s sort of like Chuck E. Cheese or Mickey Mouse – it’s fun to go and hug the giant rodent, but you know that it’s not really a giant rodent. And they were completely cool with that. Or so I thought.
CURTAIN RISES as I am sitting on the couch in a pile of parental smugness, reading or something, and 5 year old Max & 4 year old Mr. Schmee confront me.
Max: Mom. It’s not true. What you keep sayin’.
Me: What’s not true?
Max: There is a Santa.
Mr. Schmee: Yeah. Dare is mom!
Me: What are you all talking about?
Max: We just want you to stop sayin’ that. There is a Santa and he’s not pretend. He’s real.
Mr. Schmee: Yeah. He’s weal!
Me: Guys. I love you. But he’s not, he’s-
Max: We saw him Mom – the real Santa. So no more lies, ok?
Mr. Schmee: Yeah. No more wies, mom. Stop wieing!
Max: Conversation’s over mom. We’re not talking about it anymore.
Mr. Schmee: Yeah. Ove and no mow! (cute little chubby fist pump for effect)
And Max & Mr. Schmee stride proudly in their wisdom across the living room and back to their bedroom because they have successfully put in me in my place.
The moral of this play, be it a tragic comedy or a comical tragedy, my dear readers, is that you are caught in the proverbial corner – no matter the choice – the outcome is the same. Derned if you do and derned if you don’t.
Also. I still watch The Labyrinth and The Neverending Story all the time. And I maybe also talk to my mirror.