Real Life Mama: Sharing Christmas secrets

About six months ago, shortly after Maylie lost a tooth, we were doing her hair in my bathroom when she stopped me, looked me square in the eye and asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real. Immediately, I panicked. Although I knew eventually this day would come (and that she was showing signs that it wasn’t far off), my heart sank.

With all the changes that this little girl had been through the last couple of years, the last thing that I wanted to do was steal the belief in childhood magic. However, because of all the changes that this little girl had been through the last couple of years, we had grown exceptionally close, and I had been honest with her young heart time and time again. And I knew that I could not lie to her in that moment.

So, with a lump in my throat at stealing her childhood fun, I told my little girl the truth about the Tooth Fairy. She kind of shrugged it off and said something to the effect of thinking that was the case. However, her brain had not yet connected all the other make-believe characters. It wasn’t until I mentioned something about Santa that it clicked.

Wait, none of them are real? She was heartbroken. And trust me, this part as a parent is awful. The next part, I was truly afraid of – Maylie being able to keep this from Reagan.

So, I sat with Miss Maylie and explained the joy behind it all – the fun that goes into the planning of Santa and our Elf Susie and how she could help with it all. But I also told her how important it was to keep the magic alive for Reagan – at least for a year or two more. And it was like she totally got it and couldn’t wait to be a part of it!

It was just this week, while I was driving Maylie and Reagan to basketball practice, when Reagan asked me, “Mom, if I ask you something, you promise you won’t lie to me?” And again, my heart sank. NO! I cannot lose BOTH of my babies’ beliefs in Santa in one year. Ugh.

But she went on, “I mean, Santa has to be real, right?” Again, I froze. This cannot be happening, I thought. I was not prepared. I needed more years of magic with my baby. Instantly, I wanted to break down in tears. When did my babies grow up?

It was in my pause that another voice piped up, “Of course Santa is real, Reagan! How else do we get all those presents!” Maylie for the win. She got it. She understood the assignment.

Inside, my heart exploded! As my oldest baby went on and on explaining all the magic of Santa, my youngest lit up in wonder and belief – especially coming from her big sis. Relief came across me as I did not even have to say a thing – and especially because I did not have to lie (because, honestly, I am not sure that I could have broken it to Reagan yet).

But, Maylie! My sweet baby girl – my first baby – the girl who cannot keep a secret and is as innocent as they come – she figured out the fun and the magic of the Christmas secret. No, she didn’t just figure it out – she was able to feel the joy of sharing in it. She not only let me off the hook but took it to the next level in her confidence and explanation of it all.

Thinking how fast the time has gone, and that my oldest baby knows the truth, still brings me to tears – like, I am literally crying while writing this. Yet, one night this week, as we were snuggled up on the couch watching one of our favorite Christmas movies, “The Christmas Chronicles,” I saw Maylie jump at the sight of the sleigh and yet still wink back at me at different parts she knew to be untrue.

You see, she hasn’t lost that longing for the belief – she still finds herself falling back into it – which, I love seeing that side of her. And yet, she is also completely satisfied with being on the other side – and keeping the secret of Santa alive for her little sis.

This Christmas will be a different one for me – one I was scared to embrace at first without Maylie’s magic of the season. But she has reassured me that it is just as magical – and she is just as excited to pass it on. And I cannot wait to share in all the elf moving ideas with her and embrace what this next season looks like for us as a Santa team.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.