Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids. Rejoins Air National Guard as an "old lady" of 38.

A humorous compilation of stories and lessons learned. Usually the hard way.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Harsh Truth

I refused to do it.  I couldn’t bear it.  I swore I never would.  And then... a few nights ago, I found myself doing what I never thought I'd have to do.

"I think it's time," my husband said.  

"No- I'm sure we have more time!"

"Julia.  It is time we are finally honest and own up to everything."

"But I just can't- it will… it will change everything!"

I stood there in silence, my arms crossed defensively.  I felt as if I was being attacked- made to feel wrong for how I felt.  I was not ready for this and I couldn't understand why he would make me.  I felt like a mother that was trying to hold onto her baby in a tornado- as she was slowly slipping through my fingers into the violent winds above.

"It's time we finally told her the truth about Santa."  He looked at me sternly.  Suddenly I felt like he was my parent too.  "She mentioned to me that her friends at school are telling her that there is no Santa and we are lying to her.  I just can't handle that."

He was right.  I didn’t want her to think we were liars.  Stupid friends.  I guess at 10, she was ready- whether I was or not.  We had pulled it off this long- but the jig was up.

Slowly we made our way up the stairs to her room, peeked our head in, and sat down on her bed.

"Hon, we want to talk to you about all of the questions you've been asking lately about Santa.  We never want you to think you cannot trust us."

She squinted her eyes at the light streaming through the door from the hallway.  "Okay," rolled off of her puffy lips.  Her face still looked so cherub-like- especially when she was sleepy.

Her father took a deep breath and slowly began an explanation of how we were the ones who bought, wrapped, and placed the presents under the tree every Christmas.

"But there really is a Santa Claus!" I quickly interjected.  "He lived hundreds of years ago.  He was a saint that gave presents to all of the children in his village."

"Right,” her dad continued.  "However, it would be impossible for one man to bring presents to all of the children in the world in one night-"

"And that is why the parents help!"  I interrupted.  I shot him a glance.

“So there really isn’t a Santa Claus?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.  I knew she already had her suspicions.

I waited for her to panic.  To begin shouting.  Instead, she brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes and there seemed to be a look of relief in them.  Validation.  Wisdom that comes with growing.

“No, Sweetheart.”

“But there is!”  I said- a little too loudly.  “Er, there was.  He’s the Spirit of Christmas!”

She looked at her dad and then back at me- absorbing it all.

I quickly mouthed the words to her, “I believe!” nodding my head up and down.

My husband looks over and rolls his eyes and smiles at his hopeless cause.

But the thing is, it’s true.  I do believe.  Okay, I do put the presents under the tree.  However, I do honestly believe in the magic that surrounds Christmas.  I believe that anything is possible.  People are kinder.  Miracles happen. 

My sister (the crazy one) recently sent me a letter she found on Pintrest that I just fell in love with.  I think the writer sums it up perfectly in this letter for their own child, no doubt full of questions.

“Santa is lots and lots of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  He lives in our hearts- not at the North Pole.  Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others.  What he does is teach children to believe in something they can’t see or touch.  Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe in yourself, in your family, in your friends, and in God.”

I believe.  And I want my children to as well.  So after our conversation with our first-born daughter, I went downstairs.  Sat on the sofa.  And I began to weep, as any mother that just realized her baby was slipping out of her fingers would weep.


  1. I loved this piece -- this is such a challenge for parenting, for sure. I told my kids that there had to be a Santa because who else could motivate me to buy all that stuff for them. They seemed to buy it -- who knows for sure. :)

    1. Thank you! Yes- that's definitely a good point!

  2. Oh gosh, that's one of the toughest moments in parenthood. Be grateful you were the one to tell your daughter. My middle son's 5th grade teacher told her class there was no Santa. He and I still get angry about that. I always told my kids that I believe in the spirit and magic of Santa, too. Why else would we feel we had to buy them all those gifts when the rest of the year we said 'no!'? :)

    1. I can't believe his teacher would do that! I would be livid.