It is 3 AM and my little Ju Ju is sound asleep next to me with her soft pink blanket wrapped around her. Ever since she was a baby, she has slept with a silky blankie.
Last night was one the hardest mother nights I've had in a long time. We were getting out all the Christmas decorations and she found the letter she wrote to Santa last year on Christmas Eve. She stared at it for a long time and then said "This looks just like Dad's handwriting" I tried to ignore her but she kept asking about it over and over again. She was really concerned. I just said, "Hey, let's be quiet now, let's keep the magic of Christmas alive for the younger ones." I regret saying that a 100 times over.
Tears welled up and she walked around the house. She came up to me and asked if Santa was Dad. Xander was in the room and I just gave her a hug. All I said was, "Oh Ju Ju, I love you" Huge tears came to her eyes and she said in the sweetest most concerned voice "Don't tell me, don't tell me, I don't want to know, please tell he is real, Santa is real, I know it." And she began to cry really hard. So obviously I couldn't hold the emotion in. I felt like the magic of childhood was suddenly robbed from my little girl.
I have been crying off and on all night. It was the most heart wrenching experience. Julia continued to cry off and on the rest of the night- a soft cry with silent tears. She was heartbroken and so was I. I kept hugging her over and over again and told her, "In this house, no matter what, we believe in Santa." It helped her but we both knew it was over.
I never expected it to be so dramatic. Kenzie who is almost 11 has decided to keep it magical. She told me last year, "Mom, I don't want to stop believing in Santa, because when I do, the magic ends." And so Kenzie has made a decision to not dwell on it and has become almost oblivious to even the thought of him not being real.
Julia is very different. She is a deep thinker. Her world of faith in Santa just flipped upside down and it crushed her. Yet Julia is still very young at heart. She loves to imagine, pretend. She loves dress-up and talking to her dolls. She is 9 1/2. She is childhood.
Julia for the rest of the night started to connect the dots and she asked if it was me who bought her the art case Santa left her. She cried some more. She was seriously mourning and so was I.
I do not remember discovering the truth about Santa being so difficult. I have no memory of it at all. It must have been a healthy transition. Chay told me he discovered presents hidden in the closet when he was kid and that's how he found out.
I asked Julia if she wanted to sleep with me last night. We talked and held hands until we both fell asleep. I try so hard to not get sad about my kids growing up. I really do cherish most of my days as a mother of young children. I know I am living my very best days. I know that growing up is part of the plan and there is nothing I can do to stop time from passing- all I can do is make the best of the time I have. I have very few regrets as a mother because I know I have given it my all despite my many mistakes. But I will tell you, last night, as I held my little crushed 9 year old in my arms, as she discovered Santa wasn't real, brought the same tears as a mother seeing her child walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. It hurts and stings to the chest. A part of childhood lost forever.
Here is a letter I read to Julia: