The time finally came. It didn’t have to come and be all dramatic like it was, but that is the way it is sometimes. And now that it’s happened, I know that is the way it was supposed to happen.
My youngest son, Leo, kept asking about Santa Clause. His older brother never asked me. He knew; he figured it out and he never asked me. He just went along with it all. But not Leo. A friend on the playground told him Santa wasn’t real. And the questions started to get very specific and they bugged me. They bugged me because I felt like I was lying. He is 10 years old now so we have open and ongoing conversations about lying and our family values. Earlier this week we were picking up the present he got for his Dad and on the way home he asked me again if I bought all the presents from Santa and this time instead of avoiding or lying we talked about it. I made sure to keep the magic of Christmas the main theme but something shifted. He was devastated and then he got pissed.
The thing is I am a believer. I believe in the power of LOVE. I have so much faith in my heart. I know this is a slippery slope of a topic. But I’m a slippery slope kind of a girl.
I grew up with a Jewish Mother and my Father’s family is Catholic. I had the freedom to choose a religion if I wanted one. Which really meant that I grew up not knowing much about either one. There are a lot of things that are awesome about that and some things that aren’t so awesome. It’s complicated.
I figured it out along the way. I realized that I could create my own way of believing, trusting and creating sense out of no sense at all. There were times I felt lost, alone and a fake. I could pretend like I belonged when I needed to but I never really felt like I did. Looks are deceiving.
The concept of choosing your own beliefs is liberating and awe inspiring but how do you teach it? It is easy to know you want to raise your children in a mainstream religion steeped in history and ways of doing everything because there is a system for you already set up…you just sign up. But this concept of allowing your children to grow up to believe what they want to believe and have that all work out is not easy at all. It’s a crapshoot.
What I know now is that I do like to create my own reality, write my own rules. I know how to live in society in a way that feels good for me. I am aware of the positive and negatives of what we have created as a society. In trying to create the traditions and magic of Christmas we have also fallen into the ugliness of consumerism and greed. I appreciate that I can question what is, why it is and wonder if it contributes to the good of the world without worrying I’m upsetting my loved ones. That’s powerful.
What is really up with the Santa story? I appreciate questioning the color of his skin and his heterosexual and sexist storyline. How does that whole thing play into the birth of Jesus Christ? I am intrigued by different religious beliefs, traditions and engaging in curious conversations.
I also believe in unicorns, fairies and magic. No I don’t see white horses with sparkly horns flying around in the sky. I believe in the unseen. I believe in the power of believing what I want to create and trusting something outside of myself.
This of course makes some people laugh and get uncomfortable. Yet because I can be clear and out loud about who I am and what I believe I’ve connected with my people. A new friend recently brought me a bouquet of unicorns to me because I was having a bad day. She’s my people. And I feel like we belong together.
The need to belong vs the desire to belong
I want to belong. I love belonging. And it has taken me time to find my people. My tribe. My family created some of this for me and some of it felt right and some of it didn’t. I was blessed to know that it was okay if something didn’t resonate with me and I was encouraged to listen to my own inner whisper. If I wouldn’t have had that I might feel the need to belong in a way that itches and makes me squirm. I might be sitting in a church on my knees feeling incredibly disconnected. I’m not. I’m dancing, singing and connecting in ways that feel right to me and light me up.
With the beauty of that comes the hardship and the reality that my children might not be exposed to what lights them up and it might take them years to find that. My son might fall in love with a culture or a religion and a way of being that I’m not even aware exists. All I can do is be in love with the possibilities and teach them to listen to their inner whisper. That’s where the answers are. I am not going to try and make them see the light I see. They will or they won’t and me trying to force my joy to be their joy is kind of silly.
The joy I have is in faith itself. I love watching people tell me about their faith and see the sparkle in their eye. I love watching a parent lovingly interact with their child or an aging family member. I love thinking about someone and then find out they’ve sent me a message earlier in the day. I love when plans change and I meet someone I wouldn’t have otherwise met that turns into something awesome. Nature, sunsets, animals, weather, art, music, people laughing and smiling, connecting. That’s all magic to me.
And watching Leo talk about Santa and that twinkle in his eye is magical to me too.
I was certain I had failed after the Santa talk with him. I hadn’t been confident in my approach and it felt yukky. Yet the conversations that have occurred with him since that talk have been incredible. He feels empowered to create his own stories about all the things that make sense and those that don’t make sense as society plays them out. As we make them up to be.
So YES I believe. I believe in so much that makes perfect sense and that might not make sense to you at all. And that’s okay.
I believe that as much as I try to raise my kids just right…I can release that perception, learn to trust more and let it be easy.
Let it flow.
Stop trying so hard and allow it to be just the way it is.
That’s when the magic happens too. That’s when I see what I couldn’t have seen before.
Where is the magic in your life?