Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Ho-Ho-Horrible Truth

Well, I have officially ruined the Christmas Experience for my 11 year old son.

In my defense, it was completely necessary to steal his Christmas Joy and cause him anguish during the most magical time of the year because he was about to get beat up.

Hold on. Not by me. By his friends.

As some of you know, or may remember, he started middle school this fall. Which means he is a child amongst thugs. Listen, my kid is not a nerd, per se. He just believes pretty much everything he hears. Kind of like me, only I prefer to think he wants to see the good in people (which is what my problem was until I became Mean and then basically my being gullible solved itself and the world became a darker place).

I am not what you would call an overprotective parent, or even a parent who shelters their child.

Okay, so yeah maybe you would call me exactly that.

I'm just a big fan of innocence, but I suppose even I cannot ignore that my kid is leaning toward the pansy side of life.

He's a good kid, sensitive toward others, takes care of his sisters (after taking a break from attempting to cause them bodily harm), and just believes.

So I had to make it stop.

He could NOT go to school after the holidays and tell people what Santa Clause brought down the chimney for him and his sisters. It's not that I wanted him to be "cool" or that I was afraid other kids wouldn't like him. I wanted to prevent him from being teased because he really is a sensitive kid. He takes things to heart and I just wanted to save him from possible ridicule. He's been through a lot the last year and I just wanted to be the one to break it to him that the man in red is a big fat fake. Plus I figured I could get the kid on my side and have him help out and play Santa to his sisters. It would be something fun and special that just he and I would get to share. That is, until next year when I would have to bust up his 9 year old sister's dreams of Santa and the North Pole.

So, I consulted with Rawr, I looked online for letters parents wrote to their kids in order to break the news and I even typed out a sample conversation to get my mind in the right spot (Shut up. I write everything down. It isn't a sickness, it's more like my way of working things out. Look at it this way: When I'm 900 years old and can't remember my own name I'll have some reading material and since I already know I'll be a crotchety old woman, I can critique my own ramblings so that when cryogenics is perfected I can time-travel back to my thirties and adjust my writing style this becoming famous, thus saving the world. It is a foolproof plan).

I had everything worked out to break this news to my oldest child, and when the time came I pulled him into his room and sat him on his bed. I stood near the window, which I think was my subconsciousness trying to suggest an escape route if things got crazy.

Me: Son, I have some news. I think you already sort of know what I'm going to say but it just needs to be out there in the open.

My 11: [gazing at me with adoration] Okay, Mom.

Me: Okay, so you know how every Christmas you get presents and some are from Grammy and some are from me and Dad and others are from family?

My 11: [nods] Yeah! Last year Santa brought me that helicopter which was really awesome until Petey ate the antennae and it didn't work. That was a really fun hour.

Me: [gulping] Yeah. Hah. Um. Speaking of which-

My 11: You know what, I wrote that letter to Santa asking him to send an envelope so I could mail the radio control back but I never heard from him. I guess he's just too busy. That's okay because the elves-

Me: [feeling sweaty because that's what ALWAYS happens to me right when I'm about to freak out] SON! Listen. About that. I need to tell you-

My 11: Maybe you could write him a letter, Mom. You used to tell people what to do and if you just told Santa how much I need the helicopter fixed, maybe he would do that in time for Christmas this year.

Me: I can't even get YOU to listen to me, kid. What makes you think Santa is going to... You know what? Enough. Santa isn't real. He's fake. It was always just me and Dad. There. I said it.

It is really too bad I didn't think ahead and photograph this moment because until this taxing conversation with my son, I didn't think it was actually possible for someone's eyes to bug out of their sockets that far without causing permanent damage. Gross.

My 11: What? WHAT DID YOU SAY, MOM?!

And then he freaked out.

My 11: All this time you were LYING to us? You lecture us about lying and you've been doing it MY WHOLE LIFE?

Oh, shit. Um. Backtrack! ABORT! SAVE THE MISSION! RUUUNNNNN!

Me: I wouldn't say that, kiddo.

My 11: [stands, paces the room] I can't believe it. My mom is a liar.

AND THEN HE STARTED TO CRY.

So I started to cry. Sort of. I got teary-eyed because this was the end of an era, Peeps. My child's innocence was gone.

I reached out and patted his back, at which point he threw himself against me and just bawled.

I eyed the window.

Me: Honey, it's okay. Santa is real in our hearts. He is the spirit of Christmas. He is still magic.

My 11: IT'S ALL CRAP, MOM!

I called Rawr later that night.

Rawr: How did it go?

Me: Um.

Rawr: That bad?

Me: Um.

The upside? My 11 eventually calmed down and is now my Christmas Accomplice. Except that he wants to talk about it all the time and he keeps doing it in a stage whisper right in front of his sisters. I see this ending poorly. Though not as poorly as I handled breaking the news.
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