Life With Johnny

Yesterday I got mail from the North Pole. My letter began:

Dear Shari,

Did you know that all my elves have been talking about you? They are all very impressed with your splendid behavior this year. Mrs. Claus and I are proud of you, too! We noticed your friend, Johnny, has been very good also...

There were two more paragraphs (which I won't retype). And the closing said:

Merry Christmas,

Included with the letter was a certificate (pretty official looking) of Good Behavior with my name on it, In Acknowledgment of Excellent Behavior and Outstanding Achievement, and a list of Good Boys and Girls with my name at the top.

I was scratching my head trying to figure this out. (I'm such a goon.) I saw "Boys and Girls" and could only think of the Boys and Girls Club, which we have donated to. I couldn't imagine where else this came from, but if it was an acknowledgment of a contribution, it didn't make sense that it wasn't addressed to John also. But then "Santa" did say that my friend Johnny was also good. I set it aside, meaning to ask John if he had any idea where it came from and why. And then I forgot about it.

When John got home, he picked it up and said, "Oh, I see you got a letter from Santa. And you didn't even believe in him." And then he got that little grin on his face that told me who and why. I just cracked up.

You see, a few weeks ago, John and I had a conversation about believing in Santa as kids. I told him that I really don't remember totally buying into the whole Santa story. I do remember my mom writing "From Santa" on some packages and "From Mom and Dad" on others. But we didn't have a big ritual about Santa. Although we did always have to wait for Christmas morning to open presents. I probably believed when I was very, young. But then I figured it out young enough that I don't have memories of thinking Santa really brought gifts to the whole world in the middle of one night. I'm pretty gullible by nature, but that always seemed impossible even to me as a kid. And as an adult, I just didn't see the point in perpetuating a myth to my own kid. I didn't go out of my way to say there wasn't a Santa. But I didn't promote it like some of my friends did. I didn't make it into some magical thing. Maybe my son missed out. To hear John talk about his childhood memories, I feel like I robbed Danny of childhood. (That's a slight exaggeration.)

John has these memories of waiting for Santa and the excitement of listening to radio reports of where he was during the night. His eyes light up when he talks about it. (This is one of the many things I absolutely adore about John. For such a mature and stable adult man, he has some very endearing childlike traits. His inner little boy is alive and well. He even brings tree frogs to the back door to show them to me. I have a picture of him with one clinging to his t-shirt.)

Anyway, he told me that all kids should believe in Santa and he shook his head disdainfully at my "pooh-poohing" of the idea. And then we never talked about it again.

Until I got my own letter from Santa and he had set the stage for that comment...

"And you didn't even believe in him."

Okay, so maybe he's right.
He usually is.


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