“I changed my mind about what I want from Santa this year,” he said while eating his cereal this morning.
He said it like, “I need some new socks,” or “Can a friend come over to play?” or “We’re out of cat food.” Like it’s not December 13 and “changing” his mind would not upset the scales that delicately balance the universe and cause the end of civilization.
Loudly, I continued emptying the dishwasher and shooing the ever-helpful cats who were playing inside of it, hoping, praying and pretending I did not just hear those words. But he wasn’t giving it up.
“Mom! MOM?!? I changed my mind about what I from Santa. I know you can hear me.”
No. This is not happening. You are a ten year-old, and while in some ways you are young for your age, in some ways you are older and wiser than I am. I killed the tooth fairy last winter, and the Easter Bunny bit the dust the week before Easter. We’ve had thought-provoking discussions about why some “good children” get a hat and mittens for Christmas and other “good” children have ToysRUs explode in their living rooms on Christmas morning, and how that has nothing to do with race or color or behavior and a lot to do with zip codes and what kind of jobs their parents have. I’m not afraid to pull back the proverbial curtain on the jolly old elf less than two weeks before the holiday that is supposed to be filled with magic and wonder not mania and stress and upset. I am not afraid to call it a day, put another card in the “Shit to Tell Your Therapist” Jar, and sleep late on the 25th. I’m a mom on the edge, starter tween. Don’t push. 2016 has been a year for us all, snowflake, not just you.
“You can’t. Santa works closely with Amazon and ToysRUs and other stores and the orders have been placed and some are delivered already. Everyone knows that there are no changes possible after December 10,” I told him, like he was the one who should have known this obscure rule that I had literally just made up. Like the one where the tooth fairy doesn’t deliver on weekends (cause she doesn’t have cash in her wallet).
“That is NOT a rule. And Santa delivers toys in a sleigh on Christmas Eve, not with Amazon. Are you crazy? You don’t know anything about Santa.” he retorted with a fair amount of vehemence for a child who has lost his sneakers in the house and has not been able to locate them for four days.
And so I sat down and I looked at the spawn over the breakfast table, and I thought so many thoughts while I focused the Maternal Death Stare (MDS) deeply into his first defiant, and then less sure, brown eyes. I thought about doing in the red-suited, white-bearded current bane of my existence. I really, really did. But today was not the day. Not after the month he’s had, current attitude aside. This was not about me, though it really, really felt like it was.
“Look, the world is a bigger place than it used to be. Of course, Santa has gone all high tech. Remember that command center in Arthur Christmas? Well, they’re using Amazon now. And ToysRUs and Target and all kinds of places that deliver. If you look closely, you’ll see the photo of Santa that means it’s a Santa-approved shipping center. And the elves? They don’t make anything but custom toys. They work with the retail partners to make sure kids get their gifts on time. Parents got a secret memo a few years ago that told us that when the presents arrive a few days before Christmas, we must hide them and put them out ourselves. And that we cannot change an order after December 10. It’s a rule.”
I said this with a straight face like there truly had been some bizarre memo sent only to “parents” that explained this, and there had been no reporting of said changes on the news, and it hadn’t become an issue in the presidential election when every other thing on earth was being thrown out there.
The spawn thought about this while he finished his cereal.
“Makes sense,” he admitted, grudgingly giving me the win and eyeing me up like I’d moved ahead in the rankings of those with whom he plays this kind of intellectual chess.
I’ll take the win. I’d hate for last year to have been the last year of Santa. This one might be. We both need to enjoy it.