My oldest son, Hayden, has spent the better part of his 11th year cultivating his skepticism. To date, he has expressed serious doubts about my parenting, the Tooth Fairy, and of course now, Santa.
I never really told my kids that there IS a Santa, per se. It was one of the few times in my career as a parent that I actually had the prescience to think ahead. I’ve told them that Santa embodies the spirit of the season, and that while he does indeed exist, he’s just an ordinary man who relies on everyone around the world to help him do his job and keep the spirit alive. Therefore, while most mall Santas are “fake”, one never knows when the “real” guy might opt to show up and host a few children on his lap (so be good for goodness sake!!). Furthermore, I shared with them that if you believe in Santa for all of your life, when you become a Mommy or a Daddy, your reward is that you get to “help” Santa – which is why they might see a Wal-Mart price tag on a gift or they might catch me with a passel of presents in the trunk of my car.
My kids have embraced this premise wholeheartedly, to my delight. I say “to my delight” because I think that a life barren of even a touch of suspended disbelief is kind of sad – depressing even. Santa is a lovely concept and I think it’s a shame to have the limitations of youth placed upon his presence in a person’s life. When my kids ask, “Is Santa real?” my persistent answer is this: “I certainly don’t want to find out what might happen if I stopped believing that he is.”
To that end, Hayden, while skeptical, is still nervous enough that he cannot commit 100% to dismissing the existence of Santa (as evidenced by my previous post). He makes it very (VERY) clear to us that he is a very (VERY) reluctant believer, but JUST IN CASE, he still writes a letter to Santa, wish list included. Anyway, for someone who doesn’t believe, Hayden sure has a lot of expectations. A LOT of expectations. “Bring it on, old man,” the list seems to say.
(Personally, I plan to add “better penmanship” to Hayden’s list.)
As you can see, this is a rich and varied list. On one hand we have a request for a laptop computer, yet further down Hayden asks for mechanical pencils. Oh – and if you are wondering, the items circled in red are the ones that Hayden says he can afford himself (based on the latest accounting of the contents of his wallet), so it’s no skin off his back if Santa doesn’t actually deliver. (((sigh))) This year skeptic, next year cynic.
P.S. For the life of me, I have no idea how Kellan managed to stick his little mitt into the photo, but I find it rather suspicious that he’s pointing directly at the Nintendo DSI. He’s currently obsessed with the DS’s of his siblings as well as Hayden’s iPod touch, so it seems that Kellan is already on the Santa bandwagon, if for no other reason, to get in on the receiving end of the phenomenon.