"Santa isn’t real, you know."
So said my seven-year-old daughter to her six-year-old friend as I drove them home from school last week.
It’s funny; I never knew I could drive with my brain splattered on the inside of the windshield.
Trying desperately to stay on the road – I figured the double whammy of a dead Santa plus a car accident would end the new carpool for sure – I shot an alarmed look at the rearview mirror.
Thankfully, MacKenzie was nonchalant. “Oh, I know that,” she retorted, the weariness of the world tinging her voice. “But we saw someone dressed up like him at that house last year.”
Another bullet dodged. But I tell you - I’m starting to feel like Neo at the end of “The Matrix.” At some point, one of those suckers is going to hit home.
After I escorted MacKenzie safely to her front door, I turned to Natalie and raised one eyebrow. “Honey, you know we’ve talked about telling about kids about Santa,” I started.
“I know, Mom,” she sighed. “But sometimes, it just comes out.”
You need to learn to lie, sweetie.
No, I didn’t say that. Not really. But it is a puzzle.
Santa has never been real in our family. From the get-go, we told our kids that Santa Claus is nothing more than a fun story. And for a while, that was that.
Then Natalie started going to school, where she found, to her horror, that some children thought Santa was alive and well. She is a helpful child, a factual child. She can’t rest with the deception.
So we’ve become the Santa killers.
I've tried to impress upon her that some families like to pretend Santa is real. I told her some parents might be very, very upset if she is the one to tell her friends the truth. And she gets that. She does.
But when you're seven, it's hard to navigate the world of white lies.
I think it might be easier if I just keep her in the house until January.
Besides, I have something to tell her about the Tooth Fairy.
All's fair in love and war. And mythological creatures fall under both categories.
Kelly also blogs at Love Well, although lately, she's too busy distracting unsuspecting children from her daughter's truthful missives to do much writing.