Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Growing Up...


Oh where, oh where, has my little boy gone? Oh where, oh where, can he be?  Goodness, I wasn't prepared for age 10 and all growing up that it brings.  Over night, my little boy was replaced by a tween and over the last three months we've had to have "THE" talks.  Shortly after his 10th birthday, we had our first "talk." The more in depth, birds-and-the-bees talk.  Up until then, his knowledge consisted of: there's an egg from the mom, a seed from the dad, and a miracle from God.  It was time for a little more comprehensive discussion. Surprisingly, he handled it very maturely and it was a whole lot less awkward than I had anticipated.  I might have given myself a little {you nailed it!} pat on the back after that one.  And then, last night, it was the other "talk." You know the one you really dread? About the Jolly Man in red.  Yes.  I had high hopes for one more year, just one more with all the wonder and amazement of Christmas morning.  But it wasn't to be.


Yesterday, walking through the aisles of Target, Andrew began to question the Elf on the Shelf. {Noooooo! Not this year, not when pinterest has armed me with the most fantastical Elf staging ideas EVER!!}   He felt it wasn't really adding up, the sales display, the book with the author's picture on the back, all of it started to seem a bit suspicious.


He turned to me and said, "So, Mom, do you move him every night?"  I optimistically asked, "are you sure you want to know everything?  There is magic involved and once you know how it all works the magic will be gone.  Are you SURE you want the magic to be gone?  Really, really, REALLLY sure??"  He thought for a few minutes, reminded me I said the same thing to him last year.  And yes, he was sure he wanted to know "the whole truth." So, I told him.  I could see the wheels starting to spin.  I braced myself. Not 5 minutes later, he looks at me, "Mom, later tonight, I think I'm ready to know the whole truth about Santa too."  My heart sank. His childhood was officially over. Bam. Right there in a Target store of all places. {I'm aware of my dramatics, thank you.}


And so, after Charlie was tucked in, I gave Andrew a tweaked version of this letter.  I thought it was so sweet and such a gentle way to break it to him.  I cried as I wrote my version of the letter, sobbed as I walked to his room with the letter in hand, and stood there red eyed and sniffling.  He asked me to stay as he read the letter.  I readied myself for the disappointment, the tears.  There wasn't either.  He read the letter two times, and then said "I don't get it.  Santa is real? Santa isn't? Just tell me, do you buy the gifts, eat the cookies, write the letters and stuff the stockings?"  Um, yeah, I do.  {So much for the letter!}  Then he said, "I kinda figured" and went about working on his Legos.  What?  Really?  No tears.  I just crushed what was left of your childhood and you barely shrug?!


About an hour later, he was eating a bowl of cereal at the kitchen counter and I saw him chocking back a sob.  The little quivering lips before the tears fall.  "Andrew?  You ok, babe?"  Well, he had remembered a letter I {as Santa} had written when he was in first grade.  That was given with one of my {as Santa} more exceptional gifts, a very rare, long discontinued Lego mini figure that the Chief Elf had found in one of the reindeer's pens {ebay}.  A letter he still has tacked on his bulletin board under piles of swim meet ribbons, achievement certificates and post cards from friends.  Realizing that was all my handy work and not a magical moment at the North Pole made him sad.  We hugged and that was that.


I went to bed feeling a little sorry for myself.  A little bummed that Christmas will never be the same.  Feeling a little old, if I'm being honest.  Not to fear though, I've still got a good 4 to 5 more years of playing Santa and plenty of magic to wave around for Charlie, I'll just have an extra "elf" helping me out!

31 comments :

  1. So sad. My daughter is 12 and found out about the Easter Bunny a few years ago and went through the whole Santa, Tooth Fairy none of it's real meltdown. Then 10 minutes later started crying again and said "you mean there's no such thing as Leprechauns"! Then she went into complete denial that any of it ever took place. Her motto is as long as I believe it's true. I know someday she will be ready to let go. So my advice to you is wipe your tears and carry on and just continue to believe that he believes!

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  2. Oh, your story made me teary. I dread the day when it comes for us. My oldest just turned 7 and I think I just now realized how close that day might be. "The talks" are as hard, if not harder on mom than they are on the kids... but it sounds like you handled it like a pro!

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  3. This brought back a wash of memories. My oldest is now in college, and I can remember telling her about Santa. I am still shocked when I think about her response. Without missing a beat, she turned to my husband and me and said, "You mean to tell me that all this time you have been doing all the work, and he's been getting all the credit???" This is the same girl that left a note for the toothfairy asking for a "Mary Kate and Ashley" bathing suit, rather than cash. Ha!

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  4. I remember that feeling! It's been 4 or 5 years SINCE I've played Santa, but it's still fun!

    Now they "elf on a shelf" me with their great-grandma's (my grandma's) vintage elves. I find them in the spice cabinet or my makeup drawer.

    The memories you create now REALLY do live on! And yes, you have your own little elf. He will be so proud!

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  5. Aw, that made me tear up! They do grow up so fast, but the wonderful memories you make for you boys are the most important thing.

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  6. What a beautiful, honest post Tessa! You had me in tears! perhaps because I am newly pregnant and thinking of all the new milestones I will be experiencing with my child! Christmas looks wonderfully magical at your home, that will never change. ~Leslie Sullivan

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  7. This was precious to read. So honest and heartfelt. My oldest looked me straight in the eyes when she was three and asked if Santa was real. I gulped and gave her an honest answer, knowing Christmas would always be different for our family now that she knew the truth. She doesn't have a childhood memory of believing in Santa, but she does believe in Jesus...and doesn't doubt me when I tell her He's for real. I guess that's the gift of having been honest about Santa. P.S. My girls do still like me to write letters on Christmas Eve...from Santa Dog and Rudolph. :)

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  8. Oh, Tessa, I totally just cried a little reading this! I was so crushed when I learned the truth about Santa long ago. And my little girls are just 2 and 4 so I've got some years left...but I dread the passing of the magic already. There's still magic to be had but it's never quite the same, is it?

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  9. Oh my. That post brought tears to my eyes. I have a 10 year old girl (& a 7 year old girl) and I haven't had the question yet. I am waiting for the day and I know that I will be devastated when the truth comes out. Now it really doesn't look good because I am crying after reading about your child learning the truth so I can only imagine my emotions when my baby learns. I am so sorry. In an attempt to find the silver lining you can look at it this way, it will be a very special secret between you & your big boy and he can share in your Santa preparations for your little boy. Still that doesn't make me feel better. Ugh....watching your babies grow up is one of the most bittersweet experiences of my adult life.

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  10. I really did just tear up reading that. I have to say, for someone who doesn't even have children yet, I'm already too worried about the idea of that...what will it be like when the childhood magic ends? But then I remember my childhood and what that was like and I take comfort. My parents really did up Santa...it was crazy the lengths that they went to to create a magical Christmas for us. And it was just that...magical. But as we grew up and learned, I thought everything would change, but it didn't! They kept doing the same traditions...we knew what was behind it, but it was still wonderful and magical. So, I say that just to encourage you that even though I can't imagine what it will feel like when all of that does change, but it doesn't have to change everything you do and y'all can still enjoy the same traditions as before...Andrew will just be "in the know" now :)

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  11. I think I would've started crying right then and there in the Target aisle! I've been known to do that in the children's book section! But just think, having Andrew on your side, you two can be partners in crime on a different level with making Christmas extra special for Charlie. Because Andrew's a kid, he will probably come up with so many fun things to do with your Elf on the Shelf.

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  12. oohhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooooo! everything i dread, too. and my oldest is only almost five! our next door neighbor {who is eight} told him last year that her mom and dad were santa and he asked me about it. after nearly fainting i said "what do you think?" and he thankfully said "that is so silly! of course not!". whew. i PRAY he lasts till at least ten. i think its more of a big deal {sad} for the parent. i remember finding out and i just LOVED that i knew the secret and my little sisters didn't. it wasnt even remotely sad for me. i wonder if my parents wanted it to be? ;)

    xoxoxo
    natalie

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  13. Oh my goodness, that totally made me tear up. I'm waiting for all of this too. My oldest is in third grade and when I was that age I did a little detective work and figured it out. I hope that when my son asks I'm able to handle it with as much grace as you. Have a wonderful season with your new elf.

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  14. I know that day will come for us too & I also plan on using that letter (pinned on my board!). However, the magic doesn't have to end! Have you ever read The Polar Express? The magic only goes away when you no longer hear the bell (and I still hear it)!

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  15. thank you all SO much for your compassionate comments, your reassurances and for relating to me. It's good to know we share this {somewhat dreaded} milestone as mothers. letting go of the belief in Santa is tied to letting go of childhood and it just comes about way too quickly if you ask me. for those of you with little ones, enjoy every second of the wide-eyed wonder!! and yes, Christmas will always be magical, but in a different way. xo, tessa

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  16. This is the sweetest post... I may have shed a tear just reading it! xo

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  17. Tessa,
    Our sons are now 22, 19 and 13..."Santa" still comes to our home in the middle of the night to fill stockings and to place their gifts under the tree. They want the magic, even when they know the truth. It is a nice tradition and even after all of these years, Christmas morning is as special as ever...Keeping the tradition will make things seem the same for your son, even though the cat is out of the bag ;-)

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  18. Awww, what a moment for you and your son. I can imagine how sad that made you feel. I am dreading that moment - in addition to THE talk. :) At least we have a little while until both. You handled this quite well, though. I have a friend who went through this with her elder daughter. Her daughter had fun, though, making magic for her younger sibling and keeping the magic alive for a few more years. Maybe he'll see this a great way to carry on the spirit of Santa alive for a little more longer (although, I think it's fun for all of us, no matter what age!)

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  19. Oh I am welling up reading this. I have a 9 year old little boy and I know my days are numbered. I pray I have one or 2 more years of the magic. What a wonderful Mommy you are!

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  20. Beautiful post - and it is sad. I love the "magic" of it all!

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  21. The magic of Christmas and the curiosity of little ones. Oh man, I'm crying over here too but it's not sadness. It's that innocence and true feelings of these little ones that gets me every time. My nephew will be 10 on 12/21 and every time I talk to my SIL I ask her - still? does he still? - and as far as she knows it's still a go for him. But I just know this could be the year and I don't want it to be. I still remember holding him in the hospital right after he was born. Thank you so much for sharing - you know this certainly hits home for all of us in some way. PS - I've also been following you on Instagram and enjoying your treats that you've been posting. I must put that new Ina book on my wishlist.

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  22. Oh, Tessa. My heart was breaking as I read this. One, because I can feel the hurt and disappointment in your writing and two because I dread this milestone. I was at Target the other day and saw the display for Elf on the Shelf and muttered under my breath "oh no". I don't think my almost 5 year old would figure it out already, but she does ask a lot of questions and I think she may wonder why all of Santa's elves are sitting there. I love the magic of Christmas too! I still believe :). Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  23. I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago and I LOVE it!
    Now, this post made me a little sad, but I have to say, my kids are 18 and 16 and Santa still comes on Christmas eve to our house! Even though they knew the "truth" I told them if they don't believe then Santa won't come, and they love the fun of our traditions, so they "believe" and santa still comes! I still get to have my fun and they still get their surprise on christmas morning!

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  24. Such a touching post. Being a mom is an emotional roller coaster! You handled it all like a champ!

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  25. Oh, goodness, I read that through tears. What a sweet little soul Andrew is. I wondered what age this happens. To be honest, I thought it came even sooner so thank you for letting me know I have a few more years, too! Just think...the magic is not gone forever. It will return one day, when he, too, will have the delight in playing Santa for his children.

    Happy Thanksgiving my sweet friend! xo

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  26. Oh my goodness! I am crossing my fingers that I have at least another year after this one with my oldest. I am a sappy mess, but this made me tear up! I can see myself feeling the same way that you did.....and crying. :)

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  27. I was fighting back tears as I read this. My sons are 8 and 6 and completely believe. I am not ready for that day to come. You did a great job. Very sweet story.
    -Shelley

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  28. Just sobbed reading this post, but smiling becuase we've gained an elf! Thanks for sharing :)

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  29. First off I can't believe I've been following you on Instagram all this time and haven't visited your blog until now! Shame on me! But this post totally made me tear up. Our little one is only 5 and I love that we can have long indepth q & a sessions about Santa and the whole team up at the North Pole and she TOTALLY believes every word I'm saying. BTW, I was in 7th grade when I found out Santa wasn't real. Umm...can you say a little bit behind! I felt like a total dork when my friends at school said, "Shelly, seriously...you know Santa isn't real right?" I was mortified! :)

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  30. This is why I love reading your blog. The honesty, the raw mama moments, and the incredible relationships you have with your boys. Thank you for sharing it all. I have two little boys too - both under 3, and every day that passes I feel as though I am trying to capture something that has just escaped me. They grow up too fast, and I shudder to think of the day when we'll have the grown up talks you just referenced.

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  31. Oh how I dread the very thought of when my boys get old enough to figure it out. Such a lovely way of writing the BIG talk. And yes, I would have flipped out in Target.

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