The Moment I Stopped Believing in Santa is Preserved in Writing

I’ve always preferred communicating with people in writing, even when I was a little kid. I suppose that’s why it’s only natural that I have a blog! Even before I could write my mom would have me communicate my feelings through drawing or painting. So when I wanted to broach a difficult subject I would always write her a note.

I remember writing to her when I found out my classmate was shoplifting and smoking, I wrote to her when I wanted to stop going to Church with the rest of my family, and I vaguely remember drawing her a picture representing my feelings about a war I heard about on the radio (I think it must have been the Gulf War).

My husband and I recently moved, and when I was unpacking I started to dig out my old correspondences and read through them. I found one cute little journal that was full of notes back and forth between my mom and I. Most of it was her guiding me on how I could learn to tolerate my annoying little brothers, and I was also very concerned about a wallet I had lost (I remember finding it in the couch, that was a good day). But my heart skipped a beat when I saw this:

I think that for many children, the first time they really think about and apply skepticism and critical thinking is when they consider the existence of Santa Claus and the other various characters that our parents make up to make our childhood more fun. My mom had the perfect response to the above query:

My response:

And her again:

And me again:

At this point she knew I had figured it out, so the next response from her is her explanation about what Santa Claus is, and about how he represents the spirit of giving.

I have the best mother!

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed finding it!

Happy Holidays everyone 🙂

11 Responses to “The Moment I Stopped Believing in Santa is Preserved in Writing”

  1. 1 The Pick Man December 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I love your mother. I wish I’d had her sensitivity.

    Season’s greetings to you, too.

  2. 2 Mom December 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Wow Lindsay! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I’m so glad you kept those journalings and I’m happy you are finding them valuable. They really do provide some wonderful insight into who you were as a child and how you became who you are today. Obviously, you were a very curious little girl. You had quite an artistic bent as illustrated by your drawing and you didn’t beat around the bush when you wanted to know something.

    As always I am very grateful to hear your musings on these little treasures you continue to dig up. I am so proud to be your mom.

  3. 3 Mrs. Chili December 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    My girls don’t “believe” anymore, but we still do the cookies, milk, and one special present from “Santa.” Mom’s right; it’s about the spirit of giving and generosity and caring for others; we use the characters to teach those ideals, and the figures become less important as we need them less.

    Mom, care to offer any advice to another mom struggling with a teenage girl? My own mother died in August of ’09, and I’m finding myself looking for advice from others’ moms in the hopes of getting some encouragement that I (and my daughter) WILL survive this terrible period in our lives. Yikes!

  4. 4 Mom December 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Dear Mrs. Chili,
    Please accept my condolences on the recent loss of your mom. I’m sure it is very difficult to mourn her loss while in the throes of parenting three children and dealing with everything else that your life beholds. I do hope you can find some time and a means to grieve and accept your loss.

    I have really been struggling over your request for advice about how to survive the teen years with your daughter. Having spent considerable time pondering what I could possibly offer you I finally came to realize that giving advice is really not my bag mainly because I think it is much more empowering to encourage and support someone through their struggles rather than to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. I also think that giving advice somehow implies that one person is more of an expert than another and I don’t believe that for a minute. Each parent/child relationship is unique so there really isn’t a best way to handle any particular situation.

    Having said that, there are a few things that have helped me along my journey as a parent and I feel honoured for this opportunity to share them. I hope this doesn’t come across as advice giving because it is intended only as food for thought.

    One thing I found most helpful over the years is having at least one person who will listen to, accept, reassure and support me. This person has come in the form of a counsellor, friend or family member. Do you have someone like that in your life? It has been mostly through talk therapy that I have really come to know and accept myself and have been able to identify what I value most in my life. Becoming clear about what I value most seemed to be my saving grace. My values became my guiding principles upon which I based my behaviour, decisions and communications throughout my entire life. Having my values or my own personal ethic clear in mind has helped to make many decisions, whether small or life altering, easier.

    Personally, the values of respect, honesty, and integrity have always been most important to me. As a young parent, I couldn’t articulate those ideals and what they meant to me as clearly as I can now. I was not always as true to them as I would have liked either. I did, however, strive to be as respectful, loving and trustworthy as possible and I also expected the same in return especially from my kids. And lo and behold, I am pleased and proud to say that my children have all demonstrated in varying ways and degrees over the years that they have indeed embraced similar values.

    That is not to say I didn’t experience my fair share of trials and tribulations with my kids. Rather, I believe we navigated through those trials and tribulations with our relationships intact and we are all still learning and growing and trying to encourage each other! We accept and value each other and express that in our own unique ways. That is what is most important isn’t it?

    I hope you find this helpful and encouraging information. I guess what I am really hoping you’ll take away from this is that it is so important to keep the big picture in mind because the teen years are only a small part life. You will indeed survive them!

  5. 5 Mom December 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Sorry, I don’t know where I got the idea you had 3 children. I just reread your post and there is no indication of the number of daughters you have.

  6. 6 Chelsea December 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    While we’re asking questions of Mom…

    Mom, I have always wondered: How has your daughter’s newfound skepticism influenced you? Presumably, you are or were Catholic, since she was raised Catholic. You have always seemed supportive of her views, blog, and activism, however. So I’ve been curious for quite some time: Has Lindsay’s atheism/skepticism changed your beliefs, or the way in which you think of them and approach them?

    I realize this is kind of a personal question, and you did not “volunteer” to answer any of our questions, so I understand if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it. No hard feelings. I’m just being inquisitive.

  7. 7 Mom December 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Chelsea, I welcome the invitation to answer all those great questions of yours. Before I answer them though, I have to ask if there are other questions in this blog that have been directed to me and I have missed. I have done a little searching but haven’t spotted any. I ask because of your comment that I “did not volunteer to answer any of our questions”. What questions are you referring to and please direct me to them.

    In the meantime, I will put my thinking cap on and attempt to provide an explanation about my own personal beliefs. I’ll get back to you soon. Happy New Year to you and everyone else that reads this blog!

  8. 8 Mom January 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I thought I’d answer some of Chelsea’s questions in a series of posts. So here goes my first post in response to “how has Lindsay’s newfound skepticism influenced me”? My set of beliefs/worldview is constantly evolving. So Lindsay’s search for meaning, purpose and identity (that is the way I view Lindsay’s process) certainly has had an influence on me. I am enormously proud of the effort she is putting into examining her life, of her desire to expand her knowledge, of her activism and for her tireless quest for her own truth. Many people go through life barely scratching the surface, barely realizing the impact they have on others and not realizing the impact others have on them. Yet I think the process of self examination ought to be central and is essential to one’s mental health and wellbeing. Obviously, Lindsay is not one of those people. She is reflective, courageous, and passionate about her quest to define herself. She is aware of the impact she can have on others and of the impact others have had on her life. You cannot imagine how much I appreciate Lindsay’s passion, drive, and fortitude. I think what she has done with this blog is truly remarkable! Her main influence on me has been to motivate me to try to put into words my own worldview. I am currently working on summarizing what and who the major influences on my life were and are. I will post that shortly. Lindsay, I hope you don’t mind?

  9. 9 The Pick Man January 3, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Thanks for that, Mom. I’m looking forward to it; as with all of Lindsay’s posts.

  10. 10 Chelsea January 3, 2011 at 3:35 am

    I’m sure Lindsay’s blushing right now. 😛 I eagerly await the rest.

    And to answer your question, I am not aware of anyone else asking questions of you. I was simply trying to acknowledge that it’s a little rude for me to come out and ask such a personal question when you didn’t explicitly say “ask me anything!” or bring up the topic of your own views, religious or otherwise.

  11. 11 Leroy January 7, 2013 at 11:49 am

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