I make that sympathetic face when you tell me that your child discovered the great truth this Christmas.
But, inside, I’m really not feeling it.
You had your fun for much longer than I did. And no one’s out there giving me any of those sweet AWWWW, I’m right there with you expressions.
I never lost the Santa magic because we never had it.
We’ve never had any magic.
For as long as I can remember him liking anything, my boy has been glued to facts and figures. Bedtime rituals never began with Once Upon a Time. Favorite books were The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and various years of Guinness Book of World Records.
I never got much of a mama break by turning on the telly or sliding in one of those movie show disks. He just wasn’t that interested.
Still today, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bribed him into enduring a family movie night.
And for this story-loving mama here, it’s been a harsh reality to accept.
My child is different.
Different from me, that is.
When I was in early elementary school, I didn’t take to sports or dolls, but I don’t remember having any issues on the playground. I may have made up for my lack of athleticism and my instant boredom with imaginary housekeeping by learning to spin such enticing tales at a game we called Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.
(Oh, yes, never mind that we were strict church goers, I could tell the most detailed made-up future for anyone who decided they would be it that afternoon.)
But that’s where my boy had problems at recess. He did not understand why anything made-up held any allure at all.
One particular year when he complained he had no one to play with at recess, I asked him what the others were playing.
Problem easily solved. Or so my husband and I thought. We had all the Star Wars movies at home. That weekend we watched the original three – one Friday night, one Saturday night, and one Sunday night. He went back to school on Monday knowing all about Star Wars.
I picked him up that afternoon and asked about recess. Alas, no, he had not played with them. Why? Because they were using pretend light sabers. His exact words. Why would anybody want to play with pretend light sabers?
You better be sure I answered, just to lighten the mood in the car a bit. Well, they’re sure not going to be able to play with real ones.
That was the year I quit trying to make him into me. That was the year that I started accepting our reality.
Want to know what I’ve gained? Besides a more peaceful inner and outer life?
More fun that I ever imagined.
During his tall buildings stage, he amazed me with lists of info about buildings all over the world and I obliged him by asking permission to ride a lot of elevators in Columbia’s tall buildings. Not one huge office or hotel turned us down, as long as we kept it to two rides. Sometimes I made up stories about the people in those buildings while we toured the city!
During his world records stage, he happened upon a site where you can make and set your own records. Record Setter, I owe you for many hours of enjoyment. After thinking up his own ideas for records, he set a few himself. And so did I! I showed my story-telling skills best during my longest fake telephone conversation (using a cream puff) record. You should really watch us!
And during the beginning of his YouTube channel stage, we each created our own channels together. His was about video games. Mine? Well, I wasn’t sure at first, but he convinced me that I knew a lot about cooking. (Isn’t that sweet.) And to this day, you can still find me without make-up or hair brushed, adlibbing away right here.
Look, every child is different. Embrace it. I challenge you. It will wear you out. It’ll cost you some time and gas money and creativity and endurance and humility and more…
But you won’t regret it. Okay, maybe don’t post it all on the internet.
And they won’t forget it.