Wednesday, 28 November 2012

I'm a Believer

When I was growing up I believed in a few things.  I believed cigarette smoke made the clouds in the sky.  I believed the local librarian, Mrs. Caffrey, was the famous children’s author, Enid Blyton.  I believed that if you spilt water on the ground it would make the rain.  I believed cars on television with sabotaged brake cables, could be stopped from speeding out of control simply by turning off the ignition.    One particular episode in Hart to Hart still stands out.  I believed I was going to marry MacGyver. 

Now I believe I’m going to marry Brax from Home and Away when I grow up.

I believed mothers couldn’t drive until I started school and saw otherwise.    One of my sisters used to think that Bobby Ewing from Dallas lived next door to us.  My brother believed that pouring salt on his dinner cooled it down. 

Today Screecher Creature No. 1 is of the belief that sausages will give him a tummy ache.  Screecher Creatures No. 2 and 3 believe that a sticking plaster will make anything better including a bump on the head.  Yes, I obliged and stuck plasters on their hair once.  The tricky and painful act of removing them ended that little belief.

Screecher Creature No. 4 at the tender age of 19 months believes I am the best thing that has ever happened to him and that I can make everything right in his little world.  And because he is the baby and I am his mother, I make damned sure everything is right in his little world.

Screecher Creature No. 1 thinks that sleeping on the very edge of his bed prevents nightmares.  But the three older boys strongly believe a Monster Kiss smack bang on the middle of their foreheads will keep bad dreams at bay.  Of course it doesn’t and there is hell to pay when this is discovered.  I can usually talk them down with a hug and a kiss but occasionally there is a little more work involved. 

I believed in Santa Clause until I was about 11 or 12.  As a young teen I was absolutely mortified that I was “a believer” for so long, but looking back on my innocence, I reckon I got the better deal. 

I remember the day I found out.  It wasn’t my parent’s decision.  It wasn’t through a friend telling me.    I was totally excited and looking forward to Christmas.   I asked a girl in my class, another believer, if she had written her letter to Santy.    We had a lovely chat amongst ourselves about what we had asked for.

I have no idea how it came about but our teacher, of all people, someone in a position of authority, took it upon herself to chastise the other girl for being “so silly” as to believe in the fairy story that was Santy. 

I remember sitting there with a smile plastered to my face.  I was in absolute shock and a state of disbelief as I listened to the other believer loudly protest and insist that Santy was real.  My world came crashing down that day as the perfect illusion of Santa Claus was shattered.

Finding out the truth about the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny is one thing.  But Santy?   

That is a different ballgame altogether.  Santy represents magic, mystery and an all-consuming excitement that can induce vomiting.  Every child has a right to a little magical mystery in their childhood.  The longer it lasts, the better.

I don’t remember this but my mother said I told her Christmas was ruined for me after that.  It took the good out of it. 

I hope our boys get as long as I did out of the fantasy that is Santy.  And I certainly hope they don’t get told the truth by a careless teacher.

It was an innocent game of hide and seek on Christmas Eve that unearthed the reality for some of my younger sisters.  Hiding in the pump house, they found themselves in the company of bulging black sacks.  Naturally enough, little fingers poked holes in the plastic and all was revealed. 

Of course, everything Santy represents also means anything is possible and today parents are doing their utmost to ensure Santy delivers. 

Parents everywhere are stressing over the constant demands that their children are making and wondering how they are going to pay for it all.  Our house isn’t any different.  But I believe that kids are entitled to be spared from all the worry and stress. 

Our boys want everything they see on the dreaded television.  I mean everything.  They get so carried away even Barbie’s pink castle, her pink clothes and pink horses are asked for.  I say “yes” to everything.  “Yes, you can have that. If that is what you want, and we have enough money for Santy, then you can have it.” They always respond with, “Oh, thanks!”  Thanks, Mammy!”  All they want is an answer.  And if it’s a positive one, they’re happy.  They just hear the “yes” part and block out the “only if we have enough money” bit

They are still of an age where they will be happy with what they get on Christmas morning.  What they see in front of them will be more than enough and all previous thoughts of Barbie and fluffy barking dogs will be forgotten.

I know that cigarette smoke does not make the clouds in the sky and spilling water does not make it rain.  I have also discovered that Brax is only 31 and has a Real Life Long Term Girlfriend.

But a part of me will always believe in Santy. 

And I will do my damnedest to make sure my kids believe for a long time to come.

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