Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Hope // Yes, Virginia
Christmas season is in full swing here at the Lil' Dude house. We luckily counted on our fingers the numbers of celebrations we're able to partake in this year- I think six. Christmas six times! Aren't we lucky. Aren't we lucky ... indeed.
We celebrated the past weekend with the Grandparents of the North. My own Mama played Santa for her granddaughter's seventh Christmas (wait, what?) while remarking that when I was a kindergartner, I told my entire class there was no Santa.
The teacher had to involve my parents, of course, and mass hysteria I assume from all her tiny believers. I don't remember the event- which is semi-odd given my propensity for recalling every detail of all my years lived. How did I know at five there was no Santa? And why would I tell others? I wasn't mean-spirited as a child. I don't know. But 29 years later it pissed me off.
I held my breath and crossed my fingers when on the first day of her Advent calendar, the Lil' Dude opened a note from the Christmas Fairies and said, look Mama! You have these same gift tags downstairs! It was a fleeting observation but it still freaked me out. She's six. She's in school- surrounded not only by her classmates, but older, seasoned kids and veterans of Christmas. You know the crap that is slung around on buses and playgrounds and cafeterias. She could actually Google "Is Santa Real?" like I did a few minutes ago. I am not ready for that step in our life. I'm not ready to own up to chewing up carrots and spitting them out on Santa's cookie plate. I'm not ready to admit to sweeping up Reindeer Food from the sidewalk, deck, and driveway. I'm not ready to explain filling Advent calendars, St. Nicholas boots, or Christmas stockings and giving imaginary characters the credit.
I am not ready. I want her to be rooted in hope and belief for every Christmas season she sees. If she chooses one noun to be her favorite her whole life, I want it to be hope. If she tattoos one word on her body, I want it to be hope. Even if she forsakes everything else, make hope what she holds onto.
A few centuries ago, a little girl wrote to a newspaper in New York asking the editor if there indeed was a Santa Claus. The answer, as antiquated as it is now, still rings true.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. There is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.