Friday, December 20, 2013

When My Son Found Out Santa Wasn't Real

"Mom? I have a question," Tommy said seriously one evening as I told him goodnight.

Oh God. Was he going to ask me something embarrassing? When Tom was in Korea he asked when he'd get hairs on his balls. I almost fell over from shock but I pulled myself together and answered the question. I never want him to feel ashamed on what he asks.

"Sure," I replied. If it were an awkward question, I'd call Tom up. This is his domain. He has the balls, he has the penis, he can answer the boy stuff. Otherwise I'm going to send Natalie to him when she wants to know what the blood in her pants mean. I mean, payback, right?

"Are you and Dad Santa?"

My heart dropped. I knew it was coming. Tommy is 11. He's probably beyond the age of most kids but he's always been so trusting.

"I--"I began. My tongue felt like it was glued to the roof of my mouth. "What do you think?" I always promised myself that I would be honest if he ever inquired about Santa. I thought I'd be able to say, "Yes. We are," no problem. But my heart squeezed a bit. This is because it's another step in my son growing up. Another notch. And soon he'll be in high school, sporting facial hair and wanting to know when he's getting a car. I panic just thinking about it. I'm finally getting over the shock of him being in middle school.

"I think, yes," Tommy admitted.

I swallowed. Cracked my knuckles even though it's a bad habit. "Well, yes, we buy the presents. But the spirit of Santa still lives," I said. "And please, whatever you do, don't tell your sister. She's only 6." I ran my fingers through Tommy's hair. "How are you feeling? You aren't betrayed, are you?"

Tommy gave me a funny look. "Uh, no. Why?"

I rolled my eyes. "Well, there are parents out there who tell their kids right away Santa isn't real for fear that it's lying to their kids or something. I think it's silly but if it's how they want to parent, so be it. Then there are some people who claim they felt betrayed when they found out Santa wasn't real. So are you? Betrayed? Should I call the therapist now?"

Tommy snorted. "Why would I be betrayed? It was a fun thing." He shrugged. "And now I know."

Oh, praise chocolate. No issues. No drama.

He's been great with not telling Natalie. If I talk about Santa around him, he gives me a wide smile when Natalie isn't looking. Like the other night I told Natalie, "Stop your yelling or else Santa won't give you any presents," and Tommy glanced over with a grin. When we went to Bass Pro Shops to see Santa, he said to me in private, "I know he's not real, but he's still a nice man."

So he gets it. He knows Santa isn't real. But he understands the spirit of Santa.

And that's pretty cool.


  1. That is wonderful that Tommy still believes in the spirit of Santa!!

  2. That's so wonderful that he handled it so great! I dread this day - my son is 9 and very sensitive. I have no idea who it's going to go.
    And I also fear he will say something to his younger sisters in anger, or just to spite them.
    Saying the spirit of Santa lives on is a great way to explain. I'm totally stealing that from you when the time comes.
    But I'd still rather answer the more "hairy" question.

  3. Aw! That's totally cool! You handled it like a champ (and the hairy balls question, are a pro!)
    I think the older kids get a kick out of knowing and helping to be Santa for their younger siblings. :) Love that the Spirit of Santa lives on!! --Lisa

  4. I dread the day my kids ask me that question. I don't want them to grow up!

  5. that is such a wonderful thing! And I'm sure he loves being able to share a secret with you, makes him feel very adult.

  6. Tommy sounds like such an awesome kiddo! I'm glad that he's in on your little secret now. He'll have fun with the spirit of Santa for Natalie now.

  7. Oh my gosh! It's still sad no matter what age they find out...for the parents...The surprise is so much fun. When my daughter figured it out, I told her she was now part of the "secret santa society" which meant she had to keep the secret and help perpetuate the legend.

  8. I love the way you handled his question, and I absolutely love the way he handled your answer. I hope my future child is as understanding as Tommy. He sounds like a fantastic kid.

    The Girly Gamer

  9. That is awesome that he understands!!! I think my kids (the oldest ones) know the truth about Santa but aren't telling me. I hope that they can keep the "spirit" of it as long as possible and ask when they are ready to ask.

  10. It sounds exactly like he gets the spirit of Christmas and Santa, which is to keep it precious for Natalie and to still have fun with the holiday.
    He's a good egg, that Tommy.

  11. That is SUPER COOL! And he probably feels like you're treating him like an adult, by including him. He's a a part of the adult club in a way now.

  12. Oh my goodness, how wonderful is this! It brought a tear to my eye honestly! I love exactly how you told him and love even more that he is ok with it! I love it! Our little girl is 17 months so she still doesn't know anything that is going on, but I dread that day already when she comes to us and asks... I hope she is a lot older than most kids these days! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas! :)

  13. I choked on my water and thought I was going to ruin my laptop on the hairy balls question!!!
    Glad that the Santa situation went so smoothly!
    My boys are only 2.5 years apart and the younger one asked me first so they found out the same year!

  14. Smiling for real. =D You're doing it right!

  15. He is such a wonderful child - I have this fear that my daughter Shelby will learn very soon (she kind of hinted at it last night about not believing in Santa) and I am so afraid she will blab to her brother and ruin it all. Oh once she finds the truth it will be ruined because she is growing up!
    I just did a new post tonight on Santa. Some of my friends have said they don't tell their kids is real because they don't want to start out lying to them. I don't see telling your kids about Santa is a great big lie and betrayal. It's about the magic of the imagination. It's a fun time for us adults to use our childhood imagination. My mom always made sure us kids knew the difference between Santa & Jesus and that's what I do with mine.

  16. "Do you feel betrayed?" hahahaha I'm glad Tommy still believes in the spirit AND that he's been a good brother and not told Natalie.

  17. I think you handled it like a pro! My daughter is 10 and she hasn't asked, but I get the impression thtat she's suspicious. Next year is probably her year to ask.


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