Last night, Max (8) crawled into my bed and asked me to hold his hand. In the dark he whispered,
"Mom, are YOU Santa?"
He's too old and clever to lie to, so I turned the question back on him.
"What do you think?"
There was a long pause.
"Nah," he said, somewhat shakily. "I mean, there's no way you and Dad could afford to buy all those presents, and the ones under the tree too."
I was a little taken aback by this, because while J and I try to instill the value of a dollar in the boys (and those who know about Max and money are aware this is not lost on the middle son) we don't want them to think we can't stuff a few stockings.
In the dark, I weighed my options. Hayden learned the truth about Santa from a classmate four years ago and has worked hard to preserve the notion for his little brother and sister. As he told me this year, "You know how I felt when I found out? My stomach went like this," and he made a fist and squeezed it until it trembled. We've talked often about how short the years are when you get to be on the believing side of the magic, instead of the making side. While I welcome Hay's help keeping our Elf on the Shelf on the move and even let him sneak out on Christmas eve to help with a few tasks, he has told me sometimes he wishes he didn't know.
So I said to Max, "Honey, there are all kinds of miracles and magic that happen around Christmastime."
"That's what I thought," he said drowsily, and rolled over and fell asleep.
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