Santa, Help Me Believe by Dina Ramon
A couple of weeks ago my eight-year-old daughter said to me, ‘Mommy I have something to tell you… this is going to be my last year to visit Santa.’ Of course I was distraught by this comment and when she saw the look on my face, she tried to comfort me by adding, ‘well maybe I will go visit him one more year. You know I am still going to write to him.’ She knows how to cover her bases with the Big Guy, I give her that! On Christmas Eve, she wrote Santa a pretty extensive one-page note asking him how he was, if the Polar Express is real, and that she hoped he liked the treat she left for him. To me it was the most beautiful piece of paper I ever saw, the innocent yet considerate expression of a child, my child, who believes in something positive and untainted. I want to believe in that, too. How can I capture some of the confident optimism that she has for the existence of Santa and all that he represents and have it rub off on me? It’s been a difficult year to believe. Life-changing setbacks were way too frequent, both close to home and for those we don’t know but who we ached for as we watched their worlds fall apart. How am I supposed to believe and be optimistic when I’m constantly trying to shelter my daughter from one negative event after another – the deaths of her two grandpas within six months of each other, a natural disaster that left friends and neighbors homeless, and the sickening massacre of children who were probably just learning how to read. I thought I was a resilient older mom. I’m supposed to be able to push on through those times of emotional pain and feelings of helplessness. I guess I’m doing that, but barely. I am surely not alone in fearing the future and what is around the next corner. Who can be trusted, what awful event will happen next, what will become of us? But I keep thinking about that note to Santa. I look at it and it gives me hope. My daughter’s belief in Santa may have started to waiver but she didn’t give in to any doubt she may have had. She wrote her note, left him a snack, and he paid us a visit. For her alone I need to keep believing. And I’m going to read that note every day if I have to, to remind me.