“Daddy, I don’t think Santa Claus is real anymore.”
I was in our basement, assembling one of those indoor basketball shooting games. It requires three people to assemble, one to screw things in and two to hold things in place, so my boys were helping. There were times when I didn’t need their help, so they played with some of the other toys in the basement.
And then my eight-year old found a box.
My wife and I had hidden his gift from Santa, an electrically-powered dirt bike, in a section of the basement he wouldn’t check. It was behind some things and under a blanket. He hadn’t seen it prior to Christmas. I’d assembled it sometime after midnight on December 23rd (technically Christmas Eve), got it charging (it takes 18 hours), and just kept him out of the basement on Christmas Eve. Sometime about 12:30 a.m. Christmas Day, I brought it up. He woke up about 1:00 a.m. and found it.
I knew, though, when I assembled the dirt bike, that getting the box outside was going to be a challenge. We were traveling after Christmas to visit family and would miss garbage day. I would have to hide it until I could dispose of it. I chose the same place I hid the gift.
It wasn’t good enough.
“What do you mean you don’t think he’s ‘real anymore?’”
“I found the box for my Christmas gift.”
My heart skipped a beat. I’d expected that this would be the last year of him believing, though I’d hoped for one more year. My wife and I had discussed this. We knew from discussions with other parents that the kids were getting older. (Actually, my wife was talking with the other moms about whether or not their kids still believed and then telling me.)
Like the Grinch, I thought of a lie and thought it up quick.
“Of course,” I said. “Santa can’t carry the boxes everywhere. He assembled it in the basement, so that he wouldn’t get any oil or grease on the carpet. Can you imagine what Mom would say if he had?”
My son nodded his head. “Yeah, Mom would be mad.” He went back to helping me put together his latest gift.
Until next year.
Have you had years where you didn't get rid of the evidence quickly enough? What did you do?