The Large Man Chronicles
My 10 year old daughter has asked the Santa question to my wife already, and she prefaced the question by reminding my bride “the worst thing you can do is to tell a lie”.
We have had that agreement since she was about 5 years old.
I felt that the agreement was necessary because, as a young person I was such a pathological liar – George Costanza had nothing on me. I once told my mom that my biology teacher entered my terrarium in the state high-school science fair, and that I would be away all day and night on a Saturday, and that it would cost $50. I then went to the local drive in movie with my buddies, drank Malt Duck until I puked, and missed being hit by a car by mere inches. One of many sad and shameful things about this recollection is that I more than likely could have just told my mom what I was doing, (less the Malt Duck) and she would have been fine with the activity. But with the story I used, I had to create more lies to cover the original. What place did I come in? What was the winning entry? Etc. etc. I then had to deal with the guilt of all the lies, and a $50.00 embezzlement from my poor sweet mother.
That’s just one mildly disturbing tale of many. The BS that I conjured as a teenager and as a young adult was my full-time job. I have since learned why I did those things, and I won’t bore anyone with the psychology behind it all now. I will say that today, trust is fairly sacred to me. For my children to have the kind of teenage years I want them to have, I will have to be able to trust them completely. SO…they should expect the same in return. Right?
So… what to do? What to do? Santa? Tooth Fairy? Easter Bunny? Wikipedia? Hooters girls are Santa’s elves in their summer job? Believing in these things is monumentally important in our home – as they are in many homes. I’ve read so many different strategies on how to handle this, and I have listened to many more ideas from well-meaning parents, friends, and co-workers. This is an issue that nobody can help with, mostly because I don’t want any help. My heartfelt belief is that a daughter’s relationship with her father – when it comes to trust is unique to the individuals involved. What works in some families, would not in others.
In the Large Man world, a little girl has to believe in her father, and what he teaches. Believing that the things your parents tell you are true is a critical ingredient to creating a safe haven for a child. Will the weight of the disappointment of Santa Claus being more of a spirit in your heart than a real person that you can touch, confuse the fact that you really do need to do your homework and go to college because you won’t have a chance in life without a good education? I don’t know.
No tooth fairy! Really? What other bullshit have you been feeding me dad? Are drugs really bad for you? Should I really wait until I’m 35 to kiss a guy? Am I really safe with you? Are there really and truly no monsters in my closet? Was the lady you were hugging at the mall today REALLY your cousin?
These are tough things to deal with, and frankly, these things are the reason why I told my wife that wanted to raise bullmastiffs – NOT children. But here I am, too late to turn back, and too early to send her off to the college I have found for her. (I chose an all girl college on a remote island off of the Georgia coast surrounded by sharp rocks, and man-eating sharks. The administration and faculty are all heterosexual virgin women, and all the dormitories are guarded by ferocious penis eating pit bulls. She may never learn how to parallel park, and we’re going to have to pay the out-of-state tuition fees, but when it comes to your daughter’s education you should look at safety and quality – NOT the price tag).
I remember when my mother told me that there was no Santa; I called her a lying whore, then tried to burn down our Christmas tree. “Lies! Lies!” I screamed in despair. I overreacted. I was 16 and had just failed my driver’s test for the second time, so it was a bit of an emotional day. Based on that memory alone, you can see why I’m a little apprehensive about this subject, and how to discuss it with my baby girl.
I think we’ll be able to get through one more year. She’s still young enough to trust the grown ups without many conditions. And she is fearful enough to the adage that non-believers get no visit to completely dismiss all belief in St. Nick. But you can see it coming. You see her looking over her shoulder to see our reaction to key moments as we watch Elf, The Santa Claus, and Bad Santa. The theme of all these classic family movies revolves around the premise of adults not believing in Santa Claus.
I blame my wife for most of this. I assumed when she agreed to marry me when she wasn’t even pregnant that she wasn’t very smart. I assumed incorrectly. My wife finished college in only 4 years! Had I married someone a little bit closer to my IQ level we would be worrying about this 5 years from now. But thanks to my little swimmers taking a dip into the deeper end of the gene pool, we’ve ended up with a fairly smart child. What to do? What to do?
Thanks for reading, this one actually will be continued…
The Large Man