Mary Panza

There is always that one kid. They are the kids that spread the false information about where babies come from, what sex is or that there is no Santa Claus. Look, I have always hated Christmas. I have tried and tried to get into the spirit of the day but I usually want to go fetal and wake up on New Year’s Day in time to go my friend Dan’s annual party. This upsets my sister to no end. She always makes our Italian Christmas Eve special and always goes nuts with the food and the gifts. Unlike my brother and sister, the scars of childhood Christmas past linger long and deep. I try to keep them to myself and take an extra happy pill. That was until last week.

I mention that one kid. He got to my girl.

The Girl: “Mommy, is there a Santa Claus?”

Me: “Why do you ask?”

The Girl: “Because (that kid) told me that Santa isn’t real. The presents just come from your parents and they are hidden in the back of their car.”

Me (pulling this answer outta my ass): “Check the back of the car. Do you see presents?”

The Girl: “No.”

Me: “What’s that tell ya?

She left it at that. The truth of the matter is that I hate lying to her. I want her to be prepared for the cruel world but I just can’t take that hope away from her. I try to teach her to be nice. I try to teach her to understand that gratitude is the greatest gift you can have, no matter what you have. It doesn’t make her want for the American Girl crap go away and now I got some outside influence (that kid) ruining it for her. Reality sucks.

My favorite Christmas things are the Charlie Brown Christmas and the letter I post every year, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“. Charlie Brown pretty much explains itself. “Yes Virginia” resonates with me on a couple of levels. First of all, it involves a newspaper. I always wanted to be a journalist. Second of all, it is about being a child. He never really gives her a solid answer as to Santa being of flesh and blood but rather he tells her that “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.” He tells her that without believing in something great, there would be no poetry, no romance or anything that makes this world worth it. He tells her that his generosity exists because Virginias exists. He tells her that believing with the faith of a child is really the way to go. I know in my mind that kind of faith can cause lots of hurt. It was when I looked at this again that I realized that I never believed in anything with the faith of a child. I was never a child. It is a harsh realization but not a hopeless one. I didn’t do to my child what was done to me. You see, so there is hope. Perhaps where there is hope, there can be faith and with faith, well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

So yes, My Girl, there is a Santa Claus.