I struggle a lot during the Christmas season and even when M1 is not off the wall it has always been hard to get through the holidays. I go through the motions, making cookies, going to mass, handing out presents and cooking the dinner but the whole time there is a persistent sadness that has so long been a part of me I cannot remember where it started. My Mom remarked one time that she thinks it is because there was never any magic at Christmas. Sounds weird right but at no point in my life have I ever believed in Santa or that there was magic in the season.
I know I know don’t blame my parents though, they did for years try to tell me the Santa myth. My Mom reminds me regularly at this time of year that I was the only child not believing Santa was real. Yes I believed in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and even Jack Frost but never once Santa Claus. I asked my Mom about it years ago and she told me this story….
You were just a little bit of a thing and we had gotten you Baby Alive for Christmas. You wanted it sooo bad so your father and I saved to get it for you. Oh you should have seen your face when you opened it, it was pure joy. I don’t think that you stopped screeching in happiness for several minutes. Unfortunately when it came time to play with it, it did not work because it was broken. We told you that when Santa (a friend from up the street dressed up for us as kids) came later we would let him know that the toy was broken and so he could get you a new one. You looked right at me and said “Mommy just take it back to the store where you bought it. If there was a Santa he would not make broken toys, so you bought this from the store.”
While my Mom is not exactly sure how old I was she placed me at 5 or below. She told me she never bothered to argue with me because, well I knew the truth and that was foolish to lie some more if I had already figured it out. I spent my whole life knowing that unless my parents wanted to get it for me then I would not get it. I was sworn to secrecy over the years until my siblings came to be of age. I kept the Santa myth alive because I figured it was important but I never got the whole magic of the season.
Fast forward a long time and I have kids of my own. I tell them throughout their whole lives that Santa Claus is the spirit of giving and as long as we give of our time and resources we are Santa. But part of that makes me really sad too. I know each year that I will create magic for the family or group home I end up sponsoring. I have been a Secret Santa for over 20 years for them. Yep started there when M1 and M2s aunt lived there and continued ever since. Part of me loves that I create magic for a family or two. Part of me is also sad because I don’t have that magic.
Now please understand I NEVER want the families and houses I sponsor to EVER know who I am. I sign all the packages Love Santa and do feel really good about giving to others in need. My kids too have learned the good feelings that come with giving what you have to others and I am proud I instilled this into them. But it never seems to curb the sadness though it gives me something to refocus on when I am down.
I know why I want the magic too. Life is hard as we all know and given the challenges I have gone through over the years with the military and then my kids, well magic would have helped tremendously. It would have created answers that I would want to accept, instead of many I am forced to live with. It could have eased the struggle me and the kids went through across the course of our relationship, but that would not have made us stronger. It would have made life so different and yet I know deep in my heart my life is not bad and different, well that is all it is is just not what you have, NOT better.
So I will of course build the magic for the kids. Do the fun activities we do and celebrate the season of giving. I will also encourage them, as I encourage myself to be the magic for someone else because everyone deserves to feel it.