For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.

― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

Tonight my sweet little girl (who is not having the easiest start to the school year but better than last year), my darling child said:

“Mommy, this might be kind of random, but I need to ask you something,”

I said, “sure Bean, what is it?”

She said,  “Well, is there really a Santa Claus, and I need you to really tell me”

Like she knew we’d beed dodging it these last few months. Like somehow she understood that we didn’t want to answer the question.

I said to her, knowing how serious her face looked…”why do you ask?”

“Well we are reading Bridge to Terabithia  in class and the Mom is the one who gets the present and pretends to be Santa Claus”

 

and I knew it was all over. 6 years (more actually, but 6 that she actually noticed) of eating plates of cookies and glasses of milk  and building things in the middle of the night (well her father). 6 years of eating carrots for the reindeer and watching Norad track Santa’s sleigh. 6 years of tracking down impossible presents and saying “well of course it had to be Santa because how could *I* get something like that?” 6 years of saying you have to go to bed or he won’t come to our house and I really want him to, you’ve been such a good girl.

And I said…”what do you think?” And she said “There isn’t any proof he does exist really, so does he? I know you’ll tell me the truth.”

And my face felt like it was losing all its bones and my heart sagged just a little  And I started to cry a bit. And I called for J and said “I can’t do this by myself, you have to help”

Em looked a bit confused. Because she already knew really and probably had for awhile.

I thought I could maybe squeak by one more. One more year of Santa Claus –of being really a kid –of not being that close to the horror that can be middle school or mean kids or mean teachers or being left out. One more year where life really was closer to Mr. Rogers than Degrassi High.

And I looked at J and said “I have to do all the Vagina stuff so you have to do this”  (and thus ends the touching beauty of this exchange, ok not really it just took a minor detour) and he said yeah, cause I was already crying, suddenly crying.

And J asked her the same thing and she pushed and she said “mom” and I said “I can’t ” and “I don’t want to answer this, I just don’t” So she went to sit on J’s lap and he told her.

And I started crying more . Em came and touched my cheek and said “mom I’d rather have all those amazing presents from you that from a fat guy in a red suit.”

And I thought what a kind girl, what a touching thing to say to me and felt proud of her goodness. And she told me how amazing it was that I could find the impossible things I’d found, I could see her putting it all together in her head. And she started to cry and I asked why. She said it was because I was sad. She said she was sorry. We told her “no, no sweet darlin you’ve done nothing wrong, this is just a mommy daddy thing.”

I told her I didn’t want her to grow up and I did. And she said she didn’t. And then J and I told her that we *did* want her to grow up. That she was going to have lots of adventures and there was so much cool stuff to do out there. She said she didn’t want to leave us and we told her she didn’t have to until she wanted to, that we’d always want her to stay and that she always could.

And after I snuffled into her very wet shoulder, she hugged me tight around the neck and I remembered holding her much like that many times over the last 10 years from when she was only an armful to now with her gazelle legs and goofy smile hinting at the gorgeous girl she’ll be, the woman that is there in the curve of her cheek.

We only have them for a short while don’t we?  

5 Comments

  1. It is amazing we haven’t met officially yet or maybe since I had surgery last week I am being…. more forgetful than usual. (I also did Scintilla and the A to Z challenge.)

    I am ALSO helping out with OctPoWriMo and I can’t wait to read your poetry! I am going to follow you on twitter so I won’t miss your words any more…

    I hated this inevitable conversation, too. I remember holding on for as long as I could when I was a kid. I knew my Mom would be sad!

  2. Lisa

    This is beautiful! I can so relate. My daughter just turned 15 last week (how am I old enough to have a 15 year old???) and seeing her when she went off to the high school on the first day of school and when she was all dressed up for Homecoming, looking so grown up & beautiful – I think it’s harder on us than them! ~sniff~

    Good luck on the rest of the Countdown to H’ween!

    • Jyllian M Jyllian M

      Thank you! Well they are just starting off on their big adventure and our viewpoint is bittersweet..as it should be. I will always miss my round headed baby but I love the girl she is and I know the woman she’ll be is going to be amazing

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