This being Bowie’s second Christmas, the last one he’ll be completely unaware of as it happens, I have been thinking about something lately: Santa Claus. And the Easter Bunny. And the Tooth Fairy.
I don’t think we’re going to carry on these traditions with Bowie. For one thing, it’s complete deception of your child. I have a hard time passing of a new sweater as an old one to the husband, or a believable cough to an employer. How can I pull off 8 years or so of fictional gift-bearers that come in the night? And another thing, I remember the crushing disappointment I felt when, at age 7, I found out they were not real from a playground pal. And I’d really like to spare my son as much disappointment as possible. Life is disappointing enough.
He may feel left out when he hears tales of his peers having visits from these special people, but it’s not as if non-participation means no gifts. We can do small gifts for Easter and small gifts for lost teeth. And as for Santa, don’t we get enough presents at Christmas without needing extras from Santa? I happen to think so. And I happen to want to raise a son who thinks so.
The one problem I foresee is him telling his friends who do believe that these people are not real, before their parents would like them to know. Because, even if we never have a conversation about them and he never knows they exist, chances are as soon as he sets foot in an elementary school classroom, he’ll start to hear about them. And when he comes home and says, “Mom, who is Santa Claus?” or “Why doesn’t Santa visit our house?” And my answer to that will be “Um, stammer stammer stammer, uh, well, you see…hmm.” But that’s a bridge I’m not crossing for a while. There’s a chance I can figure out some semblance of a good answer to that.
I’m blogging about this because upon admitting this to some people, I’ve been told I’m robbing my son of important childhood memories and traditions. But, I think we can create our own memories and traditions, and there’s just a teeny tiny possibility those memories will be better, right? And there are so very many truly important things I’m going to screw up as a mommy, this is the least of my worries. I won’t give in to the peer pressure. Ok, well maybe, talk to me next year.