It’s More Fun to Believe

Snowman“Santa Claus is really your parents”, she said.
My eight-year-old self stomped home from my childhood playmate’s house, stormed into the living room and demanded an explanation from my unsuspecting and caught-off-guard Mother.   Duped, lied to, shocked and incredulous – that about summed it up. I wasn’t in on the secret and it made me mad.

As each Christmas passed by and Techno and Twinkle got older, thoughts of how the “big reveal” would play out with them were always brimming near the surface. So when Twinkle came home last week and said her friend didn’t believe in the Easter Bunny I thought “Door opened, walk in. This is it.”

After some pointed questions, a mix of her intuition and rational thought she figured out that Mom and Dad have kept the magic alive for the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy and St. Nicholas BUT…”I still believe in Santa Claus.” she said with a knowing smile. Well, we went this far – we were taking it all the way.

It was so bittersweet. She marveled at the new information, laughed a little and then the next wave of reality washed over her and with it came some tears. Ouch. She was finally in on the secret. But it’s one of those moments in a child’s life where a layer of innocence is slowly peeled back. It breaks the heart just a little. What’s next? High school graduation already? Thankfully not just yet.

But this was just round one! Her older brother still wasn’t in on the secret. A double whammy. A separate conversation ensued at just the right time days later. Techno informed us he’s known for a couple of years. He just didn’t say anything. I think a part of him didn’t want to peek behind the curtain and see the wizard operating the controls. It’s just simply more fun to believe.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this all to take place. Because by week’s end we would be sitting in a concert hall, in front of a symphony orchestra playing the score and watching along to the animated short film of one of the most nostalgic Christmas traditions from my childhood.  It’s a film based on the book by Raymond Brigg’s entitled The Snowman.

I don’t know many people who are familiar with this tale.  It always seemed kind of an obscure find that we stumbled upon more than twenty years ago.  It’s the story of a young boy who builds a snowman one wintry night only to delight in the fact that he comes alive. The two explore the human world of the boys’ house, the world outside and many of the nearby animals in the countryside and then take flight for a journey to the North Pole, a snowman party with Santa and witness the Northern Lights.  In the morning the boy’s new friend has melted with the sun and all that remains in the pocket of his pajamas is the scarf Santa had gifted the boy the night before. In the book there are no words, just pictures. In the movie the only words are those of the gorgeous song “Walking in the Air” sung by a British choirboy. I promise you if you listen to it once, the music will stick with you forever. I’m still humming it four days later!

The movie became part of my children’s Christmas tradition starting with Techno’s second Christmas. It was perfect to watch this with both of the two older kids last week accompanied by the orchestra and a local-cast choirboy because it put me right back to suspending disbelief, going with the story as its presented and finding joy in the magic of it all.

Ice said to Twinkle after the reveal “We still believe.” She was a little relieved to hear that. I was a little relieved to hear that. And this movie sealed the deal.

This link takes you to the You Tube page where you can enjoy this Academy Award nominated film if you’d like (please excuse the Dominos pizza ad or whatever you will be forced to watch for 15 seconds!)  It’s 26 minutes in length.  Watch it with someone special.

Show Some Love

IMG_1846 Last week we made several trips to the dentist. Does the tooth fairy have anything to do with the teeth we’re given?  I don’t know. But if she does she is on my s*%t list.  Despite their best efforts it’s almost embarrassing the number of cavities Techno and Twinkle Toes have between the two of them.   (I don’t even want to see it printed here.)  You’d think we have something against oral hygiene around here or that my kids bathe in Coca-Cola or something. But even the hygienist at the office has said some kids just have those kind of teeth.  Okay whatever.

Twinkle was having tooth pain last week. And after much crying and – forgive the awful pun – gnashing of teeth she decided she’d rather have it pulled.  By the end of the week the dentist agreed.  After being in so much pain, missing some school and near begging to have it removed she was so happy when it was all over. Then the fun part – a visit to the treasure chest to pick out some awful 5-cent-valued plastic tchotchke as a reward.

This is where I am blown away.  She came up to the counter with a bouncy ball.  She asked me what I thought of it. I know she doesn’t collect these…her brother does.

It got me thinking about how my two oldest children show each other love in different ways. It’s rare!  But it’s wonderful to see.

When Twinkle was just days old and had jaundice we had a visiting nurse that came to take her blood regularly.  The first time the nurse performed this squeamish task my 22-month old little prince got between Twinkle and the needle-wielding woman and batted the nurse away. We witnessed his unbelievable desire to protect his baby sister before he could even verbalize it and the story has become a part of our family folklore and been re-told many times.

Then one day we were in the parking lot of a store and Twinkle took off without the obligatory look both ways and Techno held out his arm just in the nick of time to stop her.

Twinkle is the first one to make a gift for her older brother when the holidays roll around or he is celebrating another birthday. She has written many letters and made the most heartfelt cards over the years.

So why it is that when the bedroom doors open in the morning or they come bounding in after school at the end of the day that these lovely gestures are long-forgotten and the gloves come off?

I guess it’s no different from us adults. Sometimes we save our worst behavior for those closest to us. Next time Ice and I are having a tiff I wonder how far a blue plastic bouncy ball will get me?