Dad had told me for three years that my daughter had to know there is no Santa. Suggested she was playing me.
“How? She’ll still get the goods when she knows.”
“But she doesn’t know that.”
Ah. A father’s wisdom. I was a single mom, often broke, but the kid always got what she wanted from Santa and something from me, too. Maybe Dad was right and she played along to ensure she got what she wanted, but I believed— that she believed— until the Christmas she was nine.
As the holiday approached, she and her friends made lots of Santa jokes, talked about classmates who said there’s no Santa, and sometimes outright called me Santa through their giggles.
I was sitting at the kitchen table one evening when my daughter climbed up on my lap and said, “I know. Just tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
“Really? You know?”
I sighed and told her.
She ran to her room, dived into bed, rolled to the wall and repeatedly banged her head against it, all while sobbing, of course.
She screamed that I was a liar, that she could never trust adults again—You are ALL liars! —and how could your own mother deceive you so?
I quietly explained that Santa is real, he lives in our hearts, it’s a loving tradition, and all that crap, while feeling like the shittiest mother ever.
It seemed to calm her. She caught her breath, stopped bawling, and hugged her stuffed rabbit.
Then she bolted upright, startled, and screamed, “Oh my God, the Easter Bunny!”
Jesus, it was a long night.
And yes, we had to cover that, too.