For the first time in 18 years my home is devoid of believers. Let me tell you, it makes for a different sort of holiday build up. No longer is it necessary to hide the packages left on my front porch by the postal carrier. Now, I just stack them up as unobtrusively as possible, tempting the boys to shake and rattle them with full knowledge that electronics don’t really respond well to that sort of treatment.
While there is a certain freedom in no longer believing in someone, it is hard to let go of all the years of faithfully subscribing to a less than realistic possibility. Letting go of belief requires abandoning hope, or giving up, on some level. It’s hard.
When Quinn told me that he “knows that Santa isn’t real,” my initial impulse was to try to persuade him that he was wrong. I wanted the magic of Christmas to stay, even if just for one more year. After thinking about it, I recognized that while it is unlikely that Quinn will ever again truly believe in the fantasy of a red-clad, jolly old man, there remain many holiday traditions to which he can continue to hold firmly. Things like the gift of giving, the custom of a festive Christmas Eve meal and decorations, the gathering of friends and family and the sharing of joy and laughter.
I’d like to believe that each of my children will continue to believe, in some fashion, in magical possibilities. Despite his skepticism, Quinn has already shared that he intends to leave a note and cookies, “just in case.” You see, just as young Virginia was told so many years ago…
Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.