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.


Jade said...

Ohh boy, that's a tough one. The only solution I can think of is trying to explain the "spirit of Sinterklaas" with him, which...you've kind of already done. Maybe emphasize how it is the shared excitement of all that makes this time of year so fun and not just the man in the red suit. Maybe try to point out examples of how excited his brother is about it all, that way he can see the importance and....dare I say "duty" it is as a big brother to help keep that alive for his little brother.

But boy that sure is a tough one. Sorry you got your feelings hurt by it all, but I have to say, you handled it well.

Hope this is resolved peacefully. Keep us updated.

Maddy said...

I'm with you on that one. Fortunately I have a few more weeks to avoid the topic as we still have Thanksgiving as a distracter, but after that.....
BEst wishes

V-Grrrl said...

I think the most important legacy here is the one you're leaving Kaeden: "My mama always tells me the truth."

That's a gift for his whole lifetime, not just for a few years of holiday fun. That's something truly precious and more magical than someone who leaves chocolates in your shoes.

We always assume the magic of the holidays is the stories we tell, when really it's the love and traditions we share. How beautiful is it to realize YOUR PARENTS bought you that one thing you really, really wanted. Your very own parents--the same ones you sometimes disappoint and treat badly, the ones who have to live with your bad moods. THEY know you and love you and take the good and the bad and give you something special. That's MAGIC.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was in prep (5) when a boy with three older sisters told her that Santa 'Claus wasn't real. Of course she asked me what was the truth. I told her that Santa 'Claus was love and if parents wanted him to come to their house he knew and he came and if they didn't he didn't come and parents told their children that they were buying the gifts with love. I told my daughter, and later my son, that I had never personally seen Santa 'Claus and I didn't know which of the "santas' in the city he was. This satisfied them for a few more years and I sorta kinda didn't tell a lie. I told them as much of the truth as they were able to handle.