For the past few years, ever since our children have been old enough to carry on a conversation, we've received a phone call from Santa - who obtained our telephone number through my sister's husband, Michael.
Tonight, Santa called just as the children were returning from their second Secret Santa drop-off. And his timing couldn't have been better because the children's confidence in Santa's existence has been very shaken since last week, when one of the boys on our children's school bus told them that Santa isn't real.
According to witnesses, William immediately jumped to Santa's defense by saying, "HE IS TOO REAL!" so the boy turned to his mother - THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUS DRIVER - and asked, "Mom, is Santa real?" and his mother - THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUS DRIVER - responded before an entire school bus of elementary-aged children, "No, Santa isn't real."
Well, you might imagine the tailspin that caused for my children and 95% of the faithful Santa believing children on the bus. When I was tucking William in to bed later that night, he was totally perplexed. "How can Santa NOT be real?" he asked, over and over again. "I mean, how do you explain the FULL stockings on Christmas morning if not for Santa?"
"Who eats the cookies and drinks the milk?"
For over a week now, the wheels have been spinning in our seven-year-olds minds. They are suddenly questioning EVERYTHING. "How, exactly, does Santa come down the chimney and how, exactly, do reindeer fly?" Countless times this week, I've been asked ~ point blank ~ by our children if Santa is real. And without hesitation, each and every time I respond, "Santa absolutely IS real. The Spirit of Saint Nicholas is as real as love."
When the phone rang this evening, William answered it and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he heard the "Ho, Ho, Ho ... this is Santa Claus!" on the other end of the line.
We quickly put Santa on speakerphone and everyone gathered around.
He then spoke with each of the children, separately.
He knew that everyone has been sick and that Elizabeth had pneumonia.
"HE KNEW THINGS, MOM! How does he know those things?"
"He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He reads Mommy's blog so be good for goodness sake!"
As soon as he passed the phone to his sisters, William sat down and drafted his third letter to Santa. I thought he was going to write, "Santa, do you know what I want?" again as a reflex, but his focus shifted to an expression of love for Father Christmas. If the words, "I'm sorry I ever doubted your existence" were in my young son's vocabulary, they would have been included.
Christmas isn't just about Santa. Our children know that.
But there is a magic in believing.
A magic that I intend to preserve for as long as possible.