Yes, it's that time of year again...timefor the feast of Saint Nicolaas. My boys are excited about his arrival and last weekend we started off the festivities by giving him a hand at our city hall. They were rewarded with a huge bag of treats, of course. And they've been setting their shoe every night and making pictures and leaving carrots for the horse...it's all so magical.
BUT, and here's a big BUT...
Kaeden has been asking me if Sinterklaas is real. And this is the time I have been dreading, because I want the magic of these holidays to be with him forever. Yet, I understand that at his age, this questioning was bound to arise. But I can't exactly tell him the complete truth because I have another little boy to consider, one who is still young enough to believe in the magic and spirit of the season. And Kaeden isn't the kind of "young man" I can trust to keep a big secret like this. So, yesterday he asked me yet again why all the kids told him Sinterklaas is not real and your mom and dad fill your shoe. I calmly asked what he thought and he told me, "I just tell them that my mom wouldn't lie to me." A guilty lump of coal stuck in my throat. I feel terrible that he wants to know the comlete truth, but I cannot yet tell him. So, here's the story that I did tell him, as he left the table still doubting what to believe and what's just magic.
Sinterklaas is (I didn't use was) a real person and he is such a good person that he went around and helped all the poor people . He left them little goodies so they would have food to eat. And that's how the legend of Sinterklaas started. Sinterklaas is magic, and if you believe in the magic of Sinterklaas, he'll bring his magic to you. You have to believe for it to live in your heart. Sinterklaas is holy, he's a saint, and he took care of people. And his magic helped people. So, it's up to you whether you want to believe in the magic of Sinterklaas, because he is real, and he is good. Mama still believes in teh magic of Sinterklaas, because once you stop believing, then he stops coming, and I like it when he's here.
When I stopped with the entire story of Sinterklaas, I added towards the end: And please don't tell Jari what your friends are saying, cuz it wouldn't be nice for him to wonder about Sinterklaas.
"So, you are lying to me, then. If I can't tell Jari, you're lying. And it's not ncie for me when my friends tell me Sinterklaas isn't real either."
When Kaeden left the room, I sat and found it really difficult to breathe. How am I supposed to handle this situation? How can I make sure both my boys are taken care of in their magical holiday worlds? How can I assure Kaeden that it isn't about the man in the red cloak, but more about the magic he brings to our hearts and dreary November days? How can I make him believe in the spirit of this great saint, without making a fool of him in front of his friends? And protect Jari at the same time, to allow his belief in the magic and the man to carry on, for at least a couple years longer?
I love the holidays, and I love the spirit and magic of Christmas. But boy, this is a difficult subject...and though I knew it would be coming, I didn't realize how much I would hate my son calling me a liar...and knowing that maybe, in some small way, he's right.