I was just beginning to understand how time worked, how long it took to accomplish tasks, how vast the world was. I was learning my multiplication tables.
With my head upon my pillow, throughout most of November 1976, I calculated that if Santa spent ten minutes at each child’s house, he could visit six children each hour. Over the eight overnight hours, that would be only 48 children–two classes’ worth. In my own school alone, there were twelve classes. What about the other schools? The other towns? The other states? Even with the different time zones factored in, it just didn’t make mathematical sense.
Oscar asked me a little over a week ago if Santa were real. I was driving. I told him I needed to pull over and look at him while we had this conversation. So, I did. And we did. He asked, and I answered. He then asked about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. He wanted to know if these counted as “lies.” I responded. He then received his requisite instructions regarding not sharing this knowledge with other children, with his brothers.
He then looked at me, and his eyes misted over. I asked him if he were sad now that he knew for sure. He said, “A little. But really what I’m thinking about is that if it wasn’t Santa and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny all these years, then it was you and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa.”
He paused, then continued.
“That’s generosity. You let us believe it was Santa, and it was you. You guys did it all, and you didn’t care about the credit. That’s Christmas, isn’t it?”
He may no longer believe in Santa but he understands what the Christmas spirit is and means.
Sounds like a good trade to me.