My ten-year-old son still believes in Santa.
And the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and leprechauns. I would like to blame it on that recent animated film, but the truth of the matter is that he’d believed before and he continues to believe after; the movie just reinforced his faith.
Some would say, good on you! You’ve preserved his innocence long after it’s expiration date. Where other ten year olds are spouting language that would make a sailor cringe, your son still thinks “stupid” is a bad word. Yay, you, for being an awesome mom!
The thing of it is, he’s only one more year away from that hell known as middle school. And as a mom and former middle school survivor, I fear for his psychological and physical safety. Won’t he get teased? Taunted? Swirlied in the boys’ bathroom? Worse than the thought of a couple of bumps and bruises – boys heal – is the idea that my very trusting, very vulnerable boy will be forever scarred once this inevitable awakening occurs.
So I try to hint that these mythical creatures may be just that – pretty stories with no basis in reality. I have an ulterior motive for doing this beyond my mommy fear of a tormented child: it’s exhausting being all these mythical creatures. Because at the end of the day, it’s not Daddy that has to wait till the kids are asleep to write the notes from Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny, is it? It’s not Daddy that has to hide the special paper or delete the special fonts that were used. Nosirree! It’s Mommy. And Mommy is tired.
But sometimes, something happens that restores your own faith and makes you realize that life’s too short to spend worrying.
Earlier this year, my family attended a birthday party where the theme was fairies. Stood to reason, the birthday girl was turning five. Thankfully, the mother of said child provided fun boy games for the older males. She had them make PVC pipe marshmallow shooters while the little girls were given beautiful stone pots and various flora to put in said pots and create fairy gardens.
All went well until the ride home when Dylan, who I thought had been perfectly satisfied with his toy gun, murmurs: “Mommy, I want a fairy garden.” I think he means he wants to build a house for Aly’s fairy garden because that’s normal, right? Boys build. He couldn’t possibly be hinting that he believed in fairies too? The Tooth Fairy, sure, because that’s an established childhood legend. But regular fairies? Like Tinkerbell? That’s just a bit too girly, right? I tell him we’d work on it some time during the week and I forget all about it.
The following day, Dylan comes running up to me, thoroughly breathless with excitement: “Mom! Mom! Guess what? The fairies came!”
“I put those stones in front of Aly’s fairy house. I remember they were like this. But now, they’re like this!” he pantomimes as I look on with slack-jawed disbelief. “And I put a sign up that said Fairy Lives Here and that moved too! The fairies came!”
And he was so beside himself that even the eye roll that was threatening to take over my face withered under his enthusiasm. He ran off and I shook my head, bemused, thinking to have a discussion with Hubby about appropriate ten-year-old boy behaviour when Aly comes sidling up to me. It’s her turn to whisper:
“Mommy, I moved those rocks and the sign.”
“I moved them because I want Dylan to keep believing in magic. Other kids say there’s no such thing as magic, but there is. Right, Mommy?”
When even my own daughter foils my attempts at gentle disillusionment, then I have to take this as a sign that the universe is telling me to throw my hands up in the air and just let the natural order of things take its course.
:: Just the facts, ma’am ::
Top – F21
Jeans – Mossimo @ Target
Flats – Old Navy
Bracelet – Old Navy
Earrings – handmade by moi