The NORAD Santa Tracker shows him over Wulumuqi, China, and working his way westward. In another twelve hours or so he’ll be visiting our house.
I think my youngest started to suspect Santa wasn’t real at an early age. Every year he would say thoughtfully, “I think you and Daddy are Santa.”
“That’s an interesting theory,” I would reply.
I think he was eight or nine when he decided to ask the question straight out. We were driving home from school when he asked, “Is Santa Claus really parents?”
I’d been willing to dance as long as he wanted, but if a parent wants to have any credibility with her kids, a direct question requires a direct answer. I glanced over at him. “Are you sure you want to know?”
I nodded. “Yes, Santa Claus is parents.”
“I thought so,” he declared, looking satisfied. For the rest of the drive we talked about why the Santa Claus mythos was so popular, and what Santa represented to different people, how other cultures celebrated the holiday, the origins of various holiday traditions, and so forth.
We still look for Santa every year, of course. I think my little control freak enjoys the game even more now that he’s in on the Big Secret.