I remember when I found out that Santa isn’t real. I also remember when I pretended to find out that Santa isn’t real.
I was around 7 or 8 and extremely sneaky. My mother always hid presents in her closet, and my brothers and I (actually, mostly just me, but I would convince them to get in on it) would always find them to peek at what we’d be getting. But this particular year, she hid them in a little corner of her room under a blanket and in between some furniture. It took my second grade brain a small while to find the stash, but when I did, I was extremely excited. Lots of Barbies and Legos and clothes, but one particular gift stood out: a crocheted hot air balloon decoration to hang above a bed. The tag read, “To: Sam, Lots of love: Mom & Dad,” just as I would’ve expected, so I grinned at my newfound knowledge and left.
On Christmas morning, I sprinted downstairs to unwrap my presents. Out came the Barbies and the Legos and the clothing once again, but then I took out the hot air balloon. In my excitement, I nearly missed the tag: “To: Sam, From: Santa.”
Well, first of all, my parents obviously wanted to make sure I noticed Santa’s platonic, unemotional relationship with me. But second, I was slightly outraged at their ongoing lies. Did they steal the presents from Santa and rewrite the tags to their credit? Was Santa just helping my parents out? Eventually, my naivety left and I realized, of course, that Santa isn’t real.
Fast forward a few months: I am at my aunt’s house for Easter weekend. It was around 11pm and I was in bed upstairs, listening to my mother and aunt chatter below. I had not yet revealed my knowledge of the Santa falsity; instead, I was too consumed with vindictive thoughts of revenge. Well, not revenge, per se; I wasn’t about to turn Easter all Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. I was a little brat, not a sociopath. I was simply a tad depressed about my parents’ deceit, so I vowed to mess with their heads just a teensy bit.
I crept down the stairs slowly and quietly in my pajamas. I then jumped into the living room wherein the two women hid jellybeans and assembled Easter baskets and yelled, “MOM?”
They spun around and froze. My mother gasped, “Oh, oh no, I’m so sorry you had to find out this way!”
“And…and…and SANTA?” I cried.
“…Yes,” she whispered.
“YOU LIED TO ME,” I dramatically yelled, and ran back up the stairs as angrily as I possibly could manage at approximately 68 lbs.