“My friend at school said that Santa isn’t real” he said.
We were walking side by side, hand in hand, each of us a little afraid to look at the other.
My heart sank and my stomach flipped.
I wasn’t ready yet.
I could still see the sparkle in his eyes the first Christmas that he walked down the stairs and saw all the beautifully wrapped presents under the sparkle of the tree. My sweet little boy gasped when he noticed the empty plate where just the night before he had counted out four chocolate chip cookies for Santa. His little eyes grew big as he peeked inside the now empty mug that he had filled with milk just a few hours earlier.
I wasn’t ready.
I don’t want it to end. I don’t want to say goodbye to the magic of Christmas.
The excitement as they run down the stairs every morning in the month of December searching for Claire, their Elf.
Decorating the tree together, all four of us, singing along to Christmas tunes. My husband lifting my daughter up to his shoulders to top it all off with a bright shiny star.
Long drives just to look at the Christmas lights. I can still hear his tiny voice shouting “Look! Lights!” He has always loved the lights.
Snuggling under blankets on cold nights watching Polar Express, bowls full of popcorn with little surprises hiding inside.
Afternoons spent building Gingerbread houses, sneaking candies and trying to prevent the roof from sliding off.
Christmas Eve Church service surrounding us with stillness and peace. The Christmas hymns calming my soul as their little heads rest on my shoulder.
The pure joy in their excited voices as they burst through our bedroom doors before the sun has made its appearance on Christmas morning unable to comprehend how Santa made it into their bedrooms without them waking up.
I’m not ready yet.
“What do you think?” I asked him, holding my breath while I waited for his response.
I have been preparing myself for this moment. I knew that it was coming. If he asks, I will tell, I remind myself.
He turned to look at me and said “I think someone is getting coal this year” and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
The day will come and I know I won’t be ready for it.
Knowing my son, he won’t even ask me. He will figure out the secret and won’t let on because, just like me, he doesn’t want the magic to end.
Yet, even though I know this one tiny part of Christmas will change, the magic isn’t going anywhere. We have spent their childhood building our traditions and that is where the magic will continue to be found.
So I will continue on with our traditions. I won’t leave out one. I will bask in the wonder of their belief. I will lay my head down on Christmas Eve just as excited as they are as we all anxiously await Santa’s arrival.
I will continue to make family memories that will help keep the magic of Christmas alive for years to come.
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