Brendan got into the car after school the other day, just like any other day. As we began to drive toward home he started chattering about his day. Again, this was not unusual and I love to listen to him talk about all the ups and downs of his day. On this day however, he brought up a subject that as a parent I have been dreading since the day he was born…Santa Clause.
Matt and I decided a while ago that whenever the subject of Santa’s validity was brought up that we would let Brendan lead the conversation and that we would not lie to him if he came out and asked if Santa were real. At first the conversation was harmless. One of his friends at school has an Elf of the Shelf. Brendan was explaining to me how it worked, and asked if we’d ever had an elf in the house like that. I truthfully told him we hadn’t and asked if he would like to have an elf around who told Santa about how he behaved every day. He told me he wouldn’t like that very much (probably because he knows how naughty he is sometimes…).
So we got past that, and Cameron asked if Santa went out and bought all the presents. I explained that Santa’s elves made the toys in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. That explination satisfied the 4 year old, but Brendan spoke up from the backseat. “They say that’s not real you know.” I froze for a moment not daring to say anything until I was sure he was talking about what I thought he was talking about. When I didn’t say anything he repeated himself.
“Who says what’s not real?”
“Some of the kids at school. They say elves and Santa aren’t really real.”
I paused again. “Oh. Well, what do you think?”
“I think he’s real.”
“Well then, I guess you just shouldn’t listen to what those other kids say then.”
“Oh, don’t worry I don’t.”
I’m glad that Brendan wasn’t phased by what the other kids at school are saying. I’ve been wondering for a long time how long he will believe. Brendan takes everything as fact, so if we say Santa is real then in his head there is no other explination. But I also understood that as he gets older more and more kids in his class will stop believing in Santa, and at some point someone may tell him that it’s their mom and dad. My only hope is that the truth won’t crush him.