(Column 46 Published in the December 27th Warroad Pioneer’s Special Holiday Issue)
As I wrap Christmas presents for my child, I’m taken back to memories of opening them. My first thoughts are what it must have been like for my mom, scrimping and saving and hand-making leg warmers and hats and mittens to ensure all eight of us kids had a present to open, many presents some years.
The Christmas that stands out gift-wise is when I was somewhere around eight. I unwrapped a telescope and a microscope. Maybe they were even given on different years; it all blends together so tastily in memory soup now.
The telescope and microscope were toys, but not to me back then. The moon was closer. The fruit fly was larger.
I was suddenly wiser.
I set up a Question and Answer booth in my bedroom doorway. My younger siblings would come ask me questions and, looking in my microscope, I would discern the answer.
The telescope was better at examining tall-tree leaves than it was at looking at the galaxies, so my wisdom spread to the whole out of doors as well.
I was in charge. In control.
Science was now mine.
And I charged my brothers and sisters a pretty Monopoly penny for my wisdom.
We did the whole Santa thing this year, for goodness’ sake. She’s three, and she sorta gets it. We wrote a letter. She asked for a trumpet.
Growing up, we didn’t have the luxury of believing in Santa. The church said Halloween and Santa were Wrong Bad Evil, so I have no memories of Trick or Treating or Santa Claus as a young child.
The debate whether or not to allow the magic for Iris was a real one. I had never believed, so now I felt as though I would be lying. I wonder if parents who did believe in Santa find this step easier, find it’s not actually a lie but a gift, perhaps, that they’re nurturing in and for their children.
I love the spirit of giving and I love the sweet stories of Santa’s magic. But I don’t want to lie to my one and only child. Yes, she’ll have a trumpet from Santa under the tree, and we’ll also search out an opportunity to give something away in Santa’s name so she can be part of the magic that way as well.
For the sake of goodness, I need another telescope and a microscope into all of this parenting business. I need a Question and Answer booth to come to, to lay down my colored money and gain wisdom in return. I need a whole lot more than an Amazon Prime membership.
But maybe Santa already knows what I need.
Maybe I just need to believe.