I guess it was sometime between the first and second grade, I was probably not yet seven, that one of my older siblings informed me there was no Santa Claus. I refused to believe it and ran to my mother so she would set them straight. I could tell my mother was upset---someone was going to get a spanking for lying, and I was ready to watch.
But instead of getting the tattle-tale satisfaction (okay, I could be a disloyal, poopy little brat when it came to my twenty-one month older, twin brother and sister siblings) my mother told me--- they were right.
I was devastated. How could so many people have lied to me for so long? How had I been so deceived? I had been made to look the total fool. For probably one of the first times in my life, my little over-inflated ego had the wind knocked right out of it.
I ran to my bedroom crying. I refused to be consoled. Mama tried to sit on the bed and explain to me, but I just shoved and kicked her away. There was nothing I wanted to hear from her. She was nothing but a big fat liar. She had been asking me just the day before what I wanted Santa to bring me that year. It was all a huge joke. ON ME.
I guess I cried myself to sleep because the next thing I knew, Daddy was waking me up for dinner. I was experienced enough to know that Daddy wasn't someone I could kick and get away with it. Besides, I remember even now how my head hurt. The fight and angry had been cried right out of me, replaced with the aching, gnawing pain of disappointment.
Daddy sat there telling me how upset I must feel. Boy, my Daddy was smart. He consoled me and was finally joined by Mama who sat with him on the side of my bed. Mama explained, “Honey, Santa may not be a real live human being. And the make believe Santas of the world may dress up in red and white costumes with beards---but there is still a part of Santa who is real.”
Hey, fool me once--- I may have been a little kid, but I was a lot smarter than they gave me credit for--- but to appease them I listened.
“His spirit lives right here…” Daddy took my hand and put it on his chest, “in people’s hearts. Santa is the spirit of giving---just to make people happy.”
I thought about that. I wasn’t sure I believed it, but I thought about it.
And every year after that, at Christmas when I got a gift and the card read “Santa” (and I got them as long as my parents were alive---until I was almost forty) I knew who to thank. And my parents would smile and act surprised, like they didn’t have any idea where those gifts came from.
I am--- well we won’t go into exactly how old I am, because a part of me is still that egotistical little brat--- anyhow, last week, with my Daddy and Mama long gone--- a girlfriend called and said that an anonymous source had a gift for me.
I am so thrilled to let my writer friends know--- I will be in attendance with you at this year’s Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. Conference in Norman.
So, thank you Santa. Thank-you for your spirit of giving---you made the little girl, in this old woman very, very happy.
Thank-you too…whoever you are--- for proving to me, Mommy and Daddy were telling me the truth, after all.