Deflowering a Believer

Anne Kimball

Life on the Funny Farm

You know how they say that your children will always be your babies, even when they're grown?


Well, that's maybe a little more true for one of my kiddos than for the others.


My little Bella is just more child-like than most kids her age. Chalk it up to her delay, her learning disabilities, her short stature if you want. She recently turned 15, but if you met her, you might think she was more like 10 or 11.


Add to that that she is one grade down, and has an early-in-the-schoolyear birthday, so she's a good year and a half older than most of her classmates.

Not surprisingly, then, she still believed in Santa a good bit longer than the average bear.


And a couple years ago, I decided it was high time she knew the truth. I guess I was afraid that at some point, the teasing was bound to set in, and I wanted to protect her from that.


So I let her have 13. I figured she was only in 6th grade, after all, and there were still a handful of her mostly 11 year old classmates that believed, so she wasn't alone. But let her get to 14 without knowing the truth? Nope. It was time.


So after that Christmas, it was maybe January, I called her into my room to have a talk. This is typically where I talk to the kids about puberty, and the birds and the bees.


Are we gonna have another one of those talks, Mom?
What talks?
One of those talks about the changes in my body and where babies come from and stuff? Cuz you already told me all about it, and gross.
No babe. But I do need to tell you about something.


And snuggled in the blankets and pillows, bathed in soft lamplight, I proceeded to rip her her beloved Santa Claus from her soul.  Though I did it as gently as I could, I still felt like a monster.


That's not a parent's job!  That kind of business is better left to big brothers and local bullies.
In fact, in this age of technology, most kids don't even learn it on the street, they figure it out on their own.  They set up the video camera to capture their parents in digital deception, or they head to the trusty interwebs to learn the truth, cold and icy as polar snow.

But not me.  I'm her MOM, but I had to play the role of the pimply-faced, green-toothed, scabby-nosed bully, and tell her all about how it's Mom and Dad that put the presents under the tree and in the stockings.  We eat the cookies, we drink the milk.  We shop, we wrap, we hide.  We do it all.


With each of her questions, there was a hint of hopefulness that she would trip me up, reveal a mystery I didn't have an answer for.  With each answer of mine, another tear slid down her little face.


But I finally got through it.  I did the dirty deed of ripping away her child-like innocence, under the guise of educating my child, and preventing the pain of teasing.


Why then, did I feel like such a demon? 


Anyone know of any babies with candy I could steal?

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