Andy made that great milestone of growing up this year, the one parents both fear and love, a pivotal moment when the world shatters and comes back together in sparkling new facets.
Andy figured out Santa Claus.
Proud as a peacock, he strutted through shops with me, picking out presents for Joey, presents for Grandma, surprises and foods for Christmas morning. He understood perfectly that Joey still believes in his own way, and was careful not to spoil the magic. Yet he knew he was now in the Grown Up World, where he was, indeed, Santa Claus himself. He was in on the Big Secret.
One of the fun things about this moment is how much a child can learn in this epiphany, when he realizes that it is not just some Mysterious Stranger who brings joy and love into their lives in the magic of Christmas morning, but his own friends, family, and parents who embody that spirit of generosity, love, and wonder. To guide your child's step into the fun of the season with a real understanding of Santa Claus, into the wonder of believing and being that spirit, taking on the role for yourself- that is something to learn in making the world around you a better place.
We had been in Cicis, having lunch, taking a break of the bustle of Christmas preparations, when we decided to get Joey a 3DS XL for Christmas. They were on sale, and we had an extra coupon, and Grandma needed a big present for him. We could do it. Joey would love it. Andy's eyes sparkled and we pulled out my phone and checked to make sure we would get the best deal. He picked it out himself, and proudly took it to the closet where I hide the other presents, to be wrapped as the Great Surprise for Christmas Morning. Yes, he was Santa Claus. He knew. He beamed with being so grown and part of the season.
Then I went out and bought another one, and wrapped both, and set them both with the stockings (which we open last).
Yes, there is nothing quite like a child who thinks he gets it, and then on Christmas morning, opens up a package and stares at it.
"This is Joey's," he frowned, a little disappointed.
"No it's not," we all chimed, pointing to the similar package in Joey's sock. He stared a moment, and then the understanding came.
Merry Christmas, little Squirrel. The beautiful, technicolor, dazzling, brilliant world. In this house, we believe in Santa Claus.