He stared. He glared. His lip pursed. His forehead crinkled. He was silent. “What’s wrong bud?” I queried as I busily put away the dishes.
“Are you and dad Santa?” the silence was broken with a knockdown punch. Caught cold, I floundered and sputtered trying to improv my way through this dreaded moment. I have no idea what I replied, but it was a weak cover-up, and the glare continued to weaken me. It has come to THIS moment! Help! “I was playing the X-Box Kinnect [the gift from Santa], and there is a picture of daddy on it.”
“Well, daddy was playing it last night!” I thought I had a clear recovery!
“Mom! It has the date and time on the picture from last month!” Argh! Why does he have to be so darn smart! “So?” he asks impatiently!
And I am revealed. There is nothing I can do – this is the moment they speak of, the moment when you can no longer sell belief because magic is now a lie! My heart cracks and bleeds as innocence is slaughtered with my solemn confirmation, “Yes baby, mom and dad are Santa!” His intense glare bursts into a painful sob with tears streaming down his sweet baby cheeks. I hold him. I want to reverse the last two minutes and find a way to maintain the magic. I’m at a loss. We hold each other – he is now only two inches shorter than I am – and we collapse into a common grief, both wishing this didn’t just happen. He doesn’t tell me at this moment, but I know the truth is only revealed to him. He has protected his sister. I know. But I couldn’t protect him.
I release him and tell him we need to go upstairs to tell daddy. I’m at a loss and can’t bear this alone. He protests, he pulls back, he begs – he does not want to talk to his daddy. I’m confused and frustrated. I need daddy. We need daddy. So I drag and demand him up the stairs.
We enter the bedroom and daddy responds, “What’s wrong?” I retell to him about the moment of truth that just left our spirits in a knockout on the kitchen floor. Luca cries. I cry. Daddy holds us and says, “you shouldn’t have told him; why didn’t you come and get me?”
“I couldn’t! It was that moment where I needed to be honest – he knew! It was that line where I could never ask him to be honest with me if I was not honest with him when he asked, directly!” I protested, emotionally, defending myself, although I too was condemning my own actions.
“I understand” he consoles us. We three grieve. Luca realized too that no Santa means no Tooth Fairy and no Easter Bunny either! But then my magically wise husband reweaves the magic.
Luca and I sit on the end of the bed and daddy kneels down in front of Luca as he says, “Luca, you need to understand that Santa does exist. He does! Mommy believes. I believe. Think of the news on the TV the other night where all the people at Canada Post were sorting the letters to Santa. Why would they do that if they don’t believe?” Luca shrugs. I’m confused and worried as to where this is going. “Those people at Canada Post do that work because they believe in the magic of Christmas. They do this to save the belief in magic! Mommy and daddy work hard at making Christmas happen because we believe in the magic of Christmas. Luca, Santa is a belief that you hold in your heart. When you’re little you believe in an actual Santa coming into your house, but when you get older and you learn what you learned today, you need to understand that Santa is real, in your heart. You are now a Guardian. A Guardian of magic and belief. As a Guardian you need to help weave the magic in the world to protect magic in the hearts of children, like your sister. But you also must be a Guardian to keep the magic in your own heart. Inside all people – like mommy and daddy – are child versions of ourselves and the magic of believing is important for our inner children to continue believing. We can keep believing when we become Guardians. It is like how people believe in God, it is important to have belief because it pulls people together with positive energy to believe in something better. Magic and belief pulls you through dark moments in your life. So, Luca, it is important that you are now a Guardian of magic and belief.”
With that magical speech, my brilliant and wise husband restored the magic of the season and even elevated it to a higher level and purpose. His intuitiveness recognized the pain in our beloved son – the fear of losing the magic. But, instead of the emptiness of nothingness, he gave Luca the power to believe. It is so important to us that Luca can still be a kid and by bestowing the honour of Guardian, he has protected both the kid in Luca and other kids. The motto of Luca’s Guardianship role: ” Be Magical! Believe! Imagine!”
Prophetically, Luca has spent the rest of the holiday getting lost in the magical worlds of The Hobbit and The Never-Ending Story and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Building belief and realizing true magic is the most powerful moment of truth!