Here's something I wasn't exactly prepared for.
Yesterday morning, as his sister ate breakfast alongside him, Leo nonchalantly said 'Mum, is Santa real?'.
There was an awkward pause whilst a low hum of static blew through my mind. Eventually I said 'well mate I believe in him'.
He looked at me inquisitively - 'a kid at school said it's just your mum and dad that do it'.
I managed to change the subject but later pulled Leo aside and said - 'mate - if you want to talk about any of that stuff make sure Mags isn't around to hear it - ok?'.
Ok. Great job so far Mum.
I mean, he's 9.5 years old. He's ready to know the truth. I'm just uncomfortable admitting to him that we've been feeding him bullshit for his whole life. Lovely, magical, present-inducing....bullshit.
Later that day after Mags is in bed I walk out to our lounge room. Josh & Leo are sitting together deep in conversation. Luckily I'd given Josh a head's up earlier and as he's never been particularly delighted with the whole Santa Lie, was more than ready to talk it through with his eldest child.
Leo looks at me, his eyes filled with a kind of bewilderment, a bit wounded, slightly shocked. 'Santa isn't true' he says.
I will honestly never forget his face in that moment. My child has grown up. I am so pleased, but heartbroken as well. I'm sure 9.5 is a good age to find this out. We sat and had an honest and funny conversation about the whole thing. He confessed to having his suspicions, for not only did he see some wrapping paper last year that looked exactly like santas, but he also thought the idea of flying reindeer was ridiculous.
Not quite as ridiculous as a rabbit that hands out chocolate to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus so we discussed both that and the tooth fairy. He is now in possession of very important truths that he must uphold - by lying to the people around him that don't yet know the truth.
What a complex web we've woven.
So tonight we are all sitting on the couch and little Mags, who is only 5, says 'Mum- is Santa real?' and I say - 'Well who's that on the tv mate? Looks like the real santa to me' (This week Elf starring Will Ferrell has been on the tv twice and we have watched it both times. I had never seen it before, but it has established itself as one of my all time favourite christmas movies ever. Hilarious. Poignant. Perfection.). Leo quickly pipes up to his sister, legitimately and almost truthfully - 'yeah! Of course he is Maggie'. And even I believe him.