That was two months ago. Or so it seems.
We put up a few little Halloween-y things on the house over the weekend. No one cares about this, except Kylie still wants to decorate the house. She is proud of herself that she can walk into the Halloween aisle in Target this year. She is not scared this year.
Saturday night, she brought a book for me to read to her. She is reading some on her own now, but this one she wanted me to read. It was "'Twas." A shortened title of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas." I was all ready to balk at reading this, because holy cow, it's the beginning of October. Can I catch my breath a minute here before we have to start doing the Christmas thing?
But I, uncharacteristically, didn't say that. Instead, I let her snuggle next to me while I read the book to her. And a few times while I was reading, my eyes threatened to well with tears.
She is so little, so innocent. She is six years old. She still believes in Santa Claus, fairies, magic, and the Easter Bunny. And she is the last one.
My two older kids went to a charter school for elementary school. They were a bit more sheltered than your average public school kid. The parents were more involved, more hands-on, and the kids more innocent and naive. Danni bought the Santa Claus thing until the Christmas of her sixth grade year, when she decided to ask, and I told her the truth. She was 11.
Shannon was a bit more savvy, and she figured it out the Christmas she was in fourth grade. She was nine, and she didn't seem all that bothered by the horrifying (or not) truth.
At the same time, in 2003, Kylie had turned one in September. We were gearing up for a really fun Christmas with a toddler. I threatened both my older children, on pain of death, that they were to play along and never, ever even suggest to their baby sister that Santa wasn't real. They were "in" on the secret now, a secret that must be preserved. And truth be told, they have fun playing along. They help Kylie leave cookies and milk out, with a bowl of water outside for the reindeer. Then after she's asleep, they help me fill her stocking, dump all but a few drops of water out of the water bowl, and leave tell-tale crumbs on Santa's cookie plate.
As I was reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' to Kylie the other night, I was sad. She is not in the same charter school the other two were in, because it was time to make the break. She is in a public school. It is a great school, but I wonder how the kids will differ. Will they all be chomping at the bit to burst everyone else's bubble? She is only in kindergarten. As I was reading the book, tears threatening to fall, all I could think was, "What if this is the last year?"
What if this is the last year that my baby still believes in Santa? She is still so full of wonder and make-believe, fairies and tales and princesses. Santa has been very real in our house for the past 16 years. I don't want this to end.
Please don't let this be the year that it ends. Please let her world be made of magic and glitter and wonder, for just a while longer.