You know it’s coming – it’s happening all of the time – but it still sneaks up on you. They grow up. Each of our three children did a little extra growing up this past week and, quite frankly, I’m not a huge fan. Sure, you’re excited when they reach a new maturity, when they know more stuff, can do more things on their own, but still. I’m. Not. Ready.
Kayliana turned four on Saturday 4! How is THAT possible? Our little baby girl is a full-on KID. She’ll tell ya, too. She’s told nearly everyone we’ve interacted with, “I’m four!” And, if they’re lucky she’ll sometimes add this anecdote that I – maybe made the mistake and – told her recently. “When birth mom Mia, put me in mommy’s arms for the first time, I TOOTED!” (True story).
We celebrated Kayli’s birthday with an ocean/under the sea-themed music party. I did a bunch of my music class/party fun – singing, dancing, instruments, scarves, parachute and bubbles. It was good times!
Two children who were not present for most of the music mania were our two eldest – Matthew is just way too cool (and shy) to be seen shaking shakers and dancing with scarves. Zachary, on the other hand, watched from upstairs – pretending to mock us, but secretly loving it and just couldn’t resist joining us for the bubbles at the end.
So, they’re all growing up, but yesterday, I had one of the moments that I’ve been dreading more than any other moment in parenting growing-up kiddos.
Matthew and I had ‘The Talk.’
Now, perhaps you’ll recall we had ‘The Talk’ – the sex/where-do-babies-come-from version a couple of summers ago. So, this was a different The Talk – the one I dreaded more than any other.
Matthew asked about Santa. I mean, he’s asked about Santa before, but I was able to pull it off, but he recently lost his last tooth and point blank asked me, “You’re the Tooth Fairy, aren’t you?” I thought for sure that would be the gate-way talk to Santa, but he left it at just knowing the truth about the Tooth Fairy. But, last night, he just had to know.
I said all the right stuff, but the whole time my heart was breaking so much. Why?! Why did it have to be right before Christmas? I wanted one last Christmas knowing that all three of our kids are still innocent, wide-eyed believers. I was so sad, but held it together while Matthew fell apart and cried over his lost childhood. (I’m not exaggerating, he cried, “I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to know stuff. I wish I’d never asked.” I wished he hadn’t either).
But here’s the thing, I feel like, as Catholics, we kind of extra rock Santa. I mean, he is Saint Nicholas. Santa’s Catholic, for crying out loud!
I explained how we keep the magic of Santa alive by continuing the tradition just as the generations before us did. He’s now a part of Saint Nicholas’ work – spreading joy at Christmas to celebrate Jesus’ birthday – and how that means keeping the secret and encouraging the magic. (And obviously, with two younger siblings and lots of younger friends, I VERY MUCH STRESSED not sharing this knowledge with anyone. He argued that I wanted him to lie, and I explained that no, it’s not a lie saying, “Yes, I believe in Santa” or “Yes, Santa is real” because the spirit of it, the magic of it is.)
I think I rocked the talk. But I hated every second of it and it was so stinkin’ sucky. I hope to, somehow, make this Christmas even more magical for Matthew…’cuz otherwise it’s just sucky. (I mean, I cried two years ago when talking about how bummed I am that Santa isn’t an actual live person). Matthew even said, “What’s the point in even asking for anything? Now, I know it’s you guys and not Santa and some of the stuff costs lots of money!”
I appreciated his sentiment on this one – especially in light of our (just the day before) receiving Kayliana’s $1500 Childrens’ Hospital ER bill. Christmas might not be too prolific for us – and really, we don’t want or need tons of stuff, but there will still be ways to make it magical. Any ideas?!
A little while post-talk, Zach and Kayli had rejoined us downstairs and Matthew even practiced ‘walkin’ the walk and talkin’ the talk’ – we started asking Kayli about what she’s going to ask Santa for this Christmas and if she’s so excited to get to go see him. I demonstrated how it’s easy enough to talk about Santa even being ‘in on it.’ He rocked the talk. He’s growing up. But man, it’s still sucky.
So, while Matthew’s doing that kind of growing up, Zachary had a big first yesterday as well. Last night, we got a phone call from his sweet little friend Alexis. She was worried about him because he wasn’t at school yesterday (due to his cold). As I handed the phone off to him, he picked it up and shyly said, “Hi,” and proceeded to turn beat red. Alexis did most of the talking – as us ladies tend to do.
After a long pause (when I assume Alexis is talking his ear off), Zachary looks at me and in a loud whisper says, “This is SO super awkward. Neither of us are talking!” I nearly died. I suggested he ask how her day was and the conversation picked back up for a bit.
I’d just left the room when I heard Zach say, “Soooo, we’ve been on the phone for a while now, are we don’t yet?” He signed off and handed me the phone shaking his head like, ‘that was so weird.’ I chatted with Alexis’ mom for a bit – who I’ve never met. She sounds wonderful and we had a good laugh about their conversation.
My sweet, sweet kids – all of them so different – growing up.
Last night at bedtime, it’s like Matthew (just as I do) wanted to keep fighting for his youth. He asked me to come in his room and sing him a lullaby.
I managed to not cry…until afterwards.