I wonder if most people have a fixed event in time – a moment when they decide they don’t believe in something any more – whether it be Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, Christmas, Religion, Global Warming – does something irrefutable happen that changes everything or does it happen gradually? I think it’s probably a little bit of both. Here’s what it looked like for me.
I think on some level that I gradually started to stop believing sometime in middle school but I held out hope as long as possible, long after all my peers probably threw in the towel. Like I wanted to be wise and mature and accept that the magic of Santa probably wasn’t true, but I also kind of wanted to leave one foot in the door just in case. Perhaps this made me a bit dweeby, but to that I say:
I remember one Christmas when I was a young teenager or perhaps a tweenager, but old enough that I think everyone assumed I didn’t believe anymore. I was spending Christmas with my grandparents and I woke up early on Christmas morning and prepared to go bounding downstairs to see what goodies awaited me when my grandmother called out from the bedroom that “Santa wasn’t quite done yet – and that I could wait in my room a little bit if I wanted.”
This brought me to a bit of a dilemma. Do I take the plunge and go downstairs and witness the truth in all it’s bah humbug glory? Do I accept that deep down I already knew that the most magical person in the world at the holidays was the over-tired rock star grandma in the bedroom who tried to keep the magic alive even when her teenage grand daughter probably kept her up late being delightful and young spirited and then woke up early because SQUEALSITSCHRISTMAS!!! Or do I meekly go back to my bedroom and pretend a little longer – on the off chance that Grandma and Santa are like total BFFs who have each other on speed dial and maybe grandma just got off the phone with Saint Nick who was stuck in traffic and totes on his way?
I went back to my bedroom.
And I’ll be honest, a small part of me continued to believe up until the minute that I became a parent and had to put out presents for MM’s first Christmas morning and when I woke up the next morning had to accept the fact that nothing new had appeared and that now I was the over tired rockstar keeping the magic alive.
But you know, maybe he was just stuck in traffic.