I’m going to try not to ruin this for anyone, so if you don’t want to know the truth about Santa . . . Don’t keep reading.
Here’s the thing. I figured out Santa way before my parents were willing to admit the whole thing was . . . Well, anyway, no one ever told me. So people ask, “When did you find out? Who told you? How did you react?” and I’m sort of like, “I don’t know. I just knew.” Shrug.
I mean, my mother still likes to pretend Santa is real, and I just let her. It’s not worth a fight or anything. I suppose at some point my parents knew I knew, but they never explicitly said anything. There was sort of this tacit understanding. We’re going to keep doing this because it’s fun. But we all know the truth.
In fact, when I think about any of those childhood beliefs—the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy—again, I don’t know when I stopped believing. I can only assume I did believe at some point, at least for a little while. I do have vague memories of hunting for eggs with my cousins and thinking the Easter Bunny really had hidden them. And I recall asking about how Santa got in when we didn’t have a fireplace (answer: magic key). But at some point all that melted away. Around the time I noticed Santa’s handwriting was the same as my mother’s maybe.
I’m only thinking about this because my oldest son is ten now and I’m not sure what he does or doesn’t know or believe. I’m fairly certain the two little ones still believe in Santa. But I don’t know if the oldest is being complicit or . . . I mean, he read the Fudge books (Judy Blume), and I remember Peter talking about how Santa isn’t real in those. Did my son pick up on that? He’s pretty smart, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t. But he never mentioned it.
So now I’m asking myself if this is what my parents went through. The whole, “Does Amanda know? Has she figured it out? Maybe we should just keep going until she says something.” Only I never did. So . . . We keep going.
And it is still kind of fun.