In the gritty hallways of Millington Elementary School, news started circulating when I was in second grade that Santa ISN'T REAL.
Snort, I thought. That's not true. No way. Nope. Dismiss.
By third grade, I realized that it *could be* true. Shitty if true, but possible. I chose to suspend my disbelief and pressed on with my bad self.
In fourth grade, I allowed myself to cross over to acknowledging, publicly, that Mom and Dad are Santa. In truth, I had noticed years ago that Santa used the same wrapping paper as Mom, and that his gift tags were the same as hers...and that his handwriting was the same. My burgeoningly analytical mind caught these inconsistencies and saved them for impeachment on cross-examination.
Memories like this make me think that I may have been destined for law school.
* * * * *
I have written multiple times about my smugness at not having an Elf on the Shelf. It was a tiny little bit of holiday nonconformism that I really enjoyed. I mean, we also don't drink eggnog, but that's because it's gross. (Sorry, Lisa.)
Anyway, that smugness? It's in the past.
Here's how it happened:
Jack was getting ready for bed. He is pretty meticulous with his bedtime routine. It's probably a function of dragging out bedtime, but I still find it endearing. It reminds me of my Grandfather Davies, padding around in his man pajamas, getting his carafe of ice water to put by his bedside before turning in for the night.
Jack: (almost whiney, but more wheedling) Hey Mom. Everyone in my class has an elf.
Me: (taking a deep breath to start my schpiel about how that's cool, but it's not our tradition...)
Jack: (guilty mumble) And they really like talking about what they do. So...I made up an elf so I could talk about with them.
Me: (Oh...he's not trying to swindle me into getting an elf. He's confessing because he told a lie! Oh damn, this is sweet.) Oooooh, so, um, what did you name your elf?
Me: (eyebrows raised, nodding slowly) Oh! Um, what does that stand for?
Jack: Well, I wanted him to be really awesome, so I gave him three As. But then, I figured if he's an elf, then he's joyful, so I added a J. So, his name is AAAJ.
Me: (melting) Oh, buddy.
Jack: What? Is it that bad?
Jack: ...what I named him?
Me: No. It's wonderful. So, what was AAAJ doing?
Jack: Hugging my toothbrush.
* * * * *
And so, just like that, AAAJ appeared, replete with a note explaining his tardiness.
So, not only do you need to move the elf every night after your kids go to bed, but when they wake up and find the elf, they can't touch it. Which is fine when you're almost 7, but is NOT FINE when you are Sawyer and don't give a rat's ass about grown ups and their arbitrary rules.
So, I had to put AAAJ in places where Sawyer couldn't reach him. This was inspired, if I say so myself.
AAAJ and I started feeling more confident with each passing day.
* * * * *
I haven't forgotten to move AAAJ yet.
My wrapping paper is different than Santa's. So is the handwriting.
My smugness is gone, but my pride at sustaining the fleeting magic of Christmas through the eyes of my sweet Jack is very much intact.
Hope you acquiesce toward magic today.