Magic is hard work.
Every year it gets more difficult to cover my bases, to avoid arousing suspicion.
Watch the handwriting on the gift tags.
Keep the presents hidden.
Make sure Santa uses different wrapping paper.
Keep that wrapping paper hidden too.
And do not even get me started on the daily upkeep of Magic Elf. Having an Elf is like having a pet. It’s a big responsibility.
The explanations get more complicated and I get more creative, while trying to keep the creative realistic.
That’s a skinny tightrope: maintaining a level of believability in a story based on fantasy for a no-longer-little boy.
When I started the Santa business with K, I never thought about the time when the magic would start to crack and falter; it seemed so far away. And as a parent, you get to relive all that childhood goodness and the mystery and excitement of the season feel new again.
But now it is coming. He is still a believer, although I feel an undercurrent of suspicion bubbling below the surface.
I wonder if this is his last year. Because once you Know, Christmas changes forever.
It is still fun and special and full of traditions, but there is a door that shuts forever around this age.
Growing up is hard. Watching someone you love grow up is even harder.
The happiest thing and the saddest thing all at the same time.
When it ends, I will make it as joyous as I can for him. He will be “in” on the big secret, which we must preserve for Baby S. It will be an adventure and he can be a part of the game with me.
We are not there yet but I see its reflection in my rear view mirror, a flick of his eyes, a questioning look on his face.
So I’m holding on to this year. I’m trying to keep his head in the clouds and keep the magic flowing for just a little longer.
I wish it could last forever for him.
For both of us.