Alas and Santa sucked too
As I predicted in my last post about the Tooth Fairy, Santa wasn't really up to scratch either. He forgot to put anti freeze in the sledge, the reindeer entered a parallel universe in which they believed they were workers at a French airport and promptly went on strike at the prospect of visiting x billion kids in just one night.
I wrapped presents with Zara the night before and we put out cookies for Santa; we even sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn late at night which seemed rather surreal with the neighbor's white car rumbling up and down outside as they went out on nocturnal drug deals.
We went to bed with some kind of vague idea of waking up at 4 a.m. to do the Santa thing but it didn't quite happen. The next thing I knew it was 7: 52 a.m. and I heard Zara yelling: "Has he come yet?"
Cue a lot of confused throat clearing and mumbling.
"Houston we have a problem."
Not only was Zara's door wide open but Santa had obviously been a no show and wrapping paper was lying around the floor.
We sprung into containment mode, locking down her room and finding her presents - no mean feat in itself because some were in the car, her new bike was in the shed and quite a few of them have failed to achieve lift off from the store, although to be fair her list amounted to two pages of A4 and contained a veiled threat that reindeer would be decapitated if Santa delivered the wrong kind of Angry Bird.
Still it was another great escape - albeit one without Steve McQueen and motorbikes. Zara fell for the fact Santa had really visited our humble abode and taken a bite out of the cookie, even though I still had the telltale crumbs around my mouth. Had she not heard the hasty rustling of wrapping paper or noticed it was the same stuff we had wrapped around presents the night before?
My colleague Joe who also has a 7-year-old child has an interesting theory on this. It's not actually that interesting and probably quite prosaic for anyone who doesn't have a 7-year-old.
A few months ago, he tells me, his 7-year-old David was asking probing questions as to the existence of Santa. Some of these questions didn't have easy answers such as what aerodynamic forces exactly keep reindeer suspended in mid air and how does Santa visit every kid in the whole world in one night?
But then a few weeks before Christmas David stopped asking questions and became unfaltering again in his belief in Santa. Because he wanted to believe he believed, Joe told me, even though his rapidly developing intellect was telling him otherwise. Kind of like God for grown-ups, I suppose.
Still Joe surmised that this would be the last Christmas his seven-year-old would believe. This made me sad in an indescribable and abstract way; our childhoods are less an awakening than a long series of realizations at how our parents have betrayed us.
Until the final betrayal when they leave us altogether but we have to fill our closets and sheds with their forlorn belongings - just because.
(the house is not ours BTW)