They don’t prepare you for this.
There’s no ultrasound, stress test or certain age when they turn that corner of maturity. Everyone was RIGHT when they had the audacity to offer their unsolicited words of wisdom- saying to enjoy these days because they apparently ‘fly by.’ And to think that you acknowledged their so-called advice with an eye roll and grimace, crying inside that these were the longest days of your life while you chased your screaming toddler through the grocery store while simultaneously trying to keep the baby asleep.
Then one day? Everything is different.
Here’s the kicker: you don’t know when that day will hit… and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be sipping on your usual lukewarm coffee while packing up school lunches, preparing yourself for an average day. You’ll hear the kids excitement over the ‘Elf on a Shelf’ from the other room and glance up to the kitchen table and notice your adolescent daughter, just staring into her cereal bowl with absolutely zero expression. And you JUST KNOW.
I think I was her age (11) when I found about Santa and I can still feel that sensation of being kicked in the stomach and just wanting to burst into tears. I found out at school and I refused to ask my parents because I didn’t want confirmation. Don’t get me wrong- Christmas still felt magical but my childhood imagination died a little that day and here is my daughter, now feeling the same emotions.
Our elves arrive a little before December 1st because I honestly can’t start Christmas soon enough AND they had to come early this year to serve their ‘quarantine’ period. I’m a bit crazy like that and let’s be real- we needed the holiday season to come sooner in this gloomy year. So, they arrived somewhere in late November and I honestly thought I had one more year of belief left from my eldest- but I was so, so wrong.
I don’t know what day it was specifically, but the kids woke up one morning to their elf arrival and it really couldn’t have gone better- these kids needed some excitement and joy! They were super pumped up and talking a mile a minute (literally) and bouncing off the walls more than ever- and seriously I don’t blame them as it’s been a long friggen year. The twin were especially receptive to it all this year, as they’re totally in their prime Santa years! And we all know, as parents, how amazing and special these days are because as stated above… IT GOES BY TOO FAST.
Cue: my eldest.
It took me a minute to realize that 1, out of my million children, was missing… which struck me as peculiar, as she’s gung-ho on all this Christmas business. Her younger bros and sis were seriously yelping like excited little puppies and she was silent. She’s never silent. Hmmmm. I let it go for a minute and then headed up to her room where she had disappeared to and we had the gut-wrenching conversation about the ins and outs of reality. I mean, in the end, it was in due time and she ended up becoming a part of the magic and Christmas morning was special as can be… but a part of her childhood innocence was gone and it hits you in all the feels, as a parent. That’s one of the brutal realities of being a parent, you are the one who needs to have the difficult conversations and more times than not, you are going in blindsided and without a plan. I know I stood there silent, not really knowing what was the right thing to say but eventually settled on letting her in on a top-secret ‘adult truth’ and invited her to be a Santa. Kids are a lot more malleable than we think and as sad as it is to strip away some magic, it’s amazing to see what they do with their opportunity to enter into the next chapter of growing up. I’m grateful that it was a smooth transition with her but also well aware that the other 4 might not go as well when they’re ready 😉 And that’s okay- I just pray I have a number of years left before the next one stops believing. ❤