This was an early start for me, but overall today was a pretty productive first attempt at Christmas shopping. I was able to find a successful balance of toys that both myself and the youngest would want to play with and even bought a few things that I don’t think the teenager will hate. Left behind was the mostly illegible three page list for Santa that was scribbled sometime in the middle of October but I’m fairly certain that I deciphered enough to meet some of her requests. If anybody knows where I can find a spell book full of actionable magic I’ll pay ten copper pieces for the map.
To be honest, I was pretty happy with the stubbornness that she showed while insisting that this list be mailed north immediately, before the elves started working for the season. Last year’s skepticism, endless questions and my ridiculous answers seemingly replaced by acceptance and reminders to her friends about the locations of “Santa-Cams”, the jolly one’s surveillance network.
Privacy concerns aside, it amazes me sometimes how easily she is able to mold facts into a way that fits with her narrative. She has learned fire safety in school, actually attends Girl Scout meetings in a firehouse, and knows that this is a smoke alarm. She knows what to do if it ever goes off and her mother isn’t cooking but has no problem also believing that it has another purpose, that anything remotely electronic looking that hangs from a ceiling or telephone pole is monitoring her behavior.
It amazes me, but it probably shouldn’t. Aren’t we all guilty of this to some extent, this ignoring of evidence and common sense, desperately clinging to ideas and hopes that we know to be misguided? The voice in our head that we silence because our hearts say different. The voice that we ignore because to listen invites pain, a challenge to the status quo that we refuse to acknowledge, repudiation of what we so desperately want to be true.
Sometimes this can be a good thing, the chasing of dreams and aspirations that come true despite naysayers and easier paths that could be taken. Leaps of faith and inspirational defiance of odds.
Other times it’s delusion, the flapping of arms to attempt flight as one careens over the edge.
There is a balance to be found, as there is in most things. A middle ground somewhere between innocence and cynicism, optimism and fatalism.
I want my girls to believe. In Santa Claus, toy making elves, fairies and angels. To believe that people can change, that love conquers all, that stories can end with happily ever after.
I want them to believe, so I’ll continue to lie. To them and to myself.