poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

Fierce belief: gift or poison?

So I’m reading stuff on www.iusedtobelieve.comand I can’t help but think of the whole Santa disillusionment for me. I mean, that happened when I was 9, and I still have issues with it… I still feel bitter about how I found out, etc. I guess I just needed something to hold onto then.

Can you all keep a secret? Because I’m about to share something that has the potential to be incredibly embarrassing. I was so naive… here goes…

So that year when I was 9, mom was pregnant with my brother & my grandma was dying of cancer. It seemed like forever that Grandma was in the hospital, but I learned later that it was only a span of about 2 weeks between when she went in and when she passed away. That was in September. Anyhow, so less than 2 months after Grandma died, my brother was born. (That was the beginning of November.) So there was a lot going on in my 9-yr-old life.
Meanwhile, I still was a strong believer in the Bearded One. When the Debates would take place on the bus rides home from school, I couldn’t help but argue his existence. (I guess it didn’t help that I truly believed that one of our bus drivers was Santa himself… but that’s another story altogether.) But not only did I believe Santa’s existence, I believed that he had a special connection to God, heaven, and all things divine. I mean, I knew Santa was “St. Nicholas,” and nothing short of a miracle would allow him to do what he did each year. So God Himself had to be in on the deal.

With that in mind, should it be any kind of surprise that I thought that he would be able to pass a message on to my deceased grandmother? I had written a letter to her on my good stationery and tucked it away to stick in my stocking on Christmas eve. Now, for years prior, my sister and I would make cards and such for Santa and stick them in our stockings before Christmas — when he went to fill them he would find them. And Mom and Dad knew about those, so it was ok to put them in early in December. But this letter had to wait until Christmas eve: I didn’t want Mom to find out about it. But Christmas Eve came and went too quickly, and so I forgot. I didn’t worry too much though… because I knew he didn’t just work on Christmas: he made the rounds too for St. Nicholas’ Day and for Little Christmas. So as long as I put it in my stocking on the eve of Little Christmas he would get it.

Mom told me right after New Year’s (right after I went back to school) the truth about Santa. I won’t go into details about that here or now because that’s not what this entry’s about. But the short of it is that I learned the truth before I put that letter out for Santa. I guess I’m thankful for that — I would have felt so embarrassed, and I’m willing to bet it would have been hard for mom to deal with then. I felt so broken though. Heck, as I write this, I still hold back tears. blah.

now remember… that all is a secret though. Right?

Sure.

2 Comments

  1. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    January 20, 2008    

    Oh I am crying that your mom had to tell you about Santa! I found out from a teacher who asked us to write a paper on what we did over Christmas break but then followed it up with something like ‘but nothing about Santa since you all know he isn’t actually real’. I was devastated, 10 years old and cried when i got home and my mom admitted it was true.

    Do you still have the letter?

  2. artjewl artjewl
    January 22, 2008    

    It makes me feel a little better that you were 10 when you found out. I don’t know when I would have let it go if not for my mom’s frustrated outburst that day.

    I cried so hard when she told me, and in high school I wrote a narrative essay for creative writing on the whole thing. It ended up being printed in my senior yearbook before I got to tame the bitterness with editing. Mom’s held it over my head since — I know the essay hurt her.

    I still have the letter. I’ve thought about giving it to her a couple times. And I’ve thought about sending it to postsecret. But I’ve done neither. It’s still tucked in my old keepsake box in the back of my closet, I think.

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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