words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “growing up”

Is nothing changing?

words by nerissa blogHave you ever wanted something to change?

Have you ever worked towards something, thinking that nothing is happening, your goal is no closer, or your circumstances are no different, despite the hard yards you are putting in?

Let me tell you, changes ARE happening.

The other week, I took my kids to get their hair cut. On the way, my  son spoke up.

“You know what’s weird?” he asked.

“What?”

“Well, your hair is growing all the time, but you can’t really see it growing when you look at it. It’s only when you look at it after some time has gone by that you notice it’s different. That it needs cutting.”

WOW!

Often we get impatient and want to see results now.

Society has conditioned us to expect things straight away. A typical example is the weight-loss industry. How many ‘quick-fixes’ are doing the rounds? (Countless) How many of them work? (None — at least not for the long-term) How many people still buy into them? (Millions).

Why? Because people want an instant result. Even though their head may tell them it won’t work, in their heart they are desperate for it to. They can’t bear the thought of weight-loss taking time.

Similarly, how many people spend money on the lottery every week? (I’m not sure, but I’d guess the number is in the thousands). Why? Because they want to ‘get rich quick’.

The same thing with tax-returns. Some accounting firms now offer ‘instant tax returns’ — some even promising cash within the hour! Why? Because as a society we have forgotten the art of being patient.

Sometimes we can get so caught up with ‘seeing immediate results’, that we miss the other things that may be happening around us.

My beautiful boy, (like millions of other kids) is a living testament that hundreds or even thousands of changes are happening all the time.

As he is about to transition from primary school to high school, I can’t help but think back to when he was a baby. I remember the day he came home from hospital — so tiny and helpless. His legs and arms were long and thin, reminding me of a skinned rabbit. His hands so tiny in mine.

From this...to this

From this…to this

Day after day I would care for him, talk to him, read to him, walk with him, and it seemed as if he gave nothing in return. It seemed like all he did was eat, sleep (although he didn’t do much of that!) and require plenty of nappy changes. But bit by bit, little changes were happening. His hair grew, his eyelashes grew and he needed the next size in clothes. After a few months he rolled over. A few months later he sat up, began to talk and once he was walking our little baby had gone and in his place was a toddler.

Like many parents, I would catch myself thinking that I couldn’t wait for a certain stage to be over — “I can’t wait until he sleeps through the night”. “Won’t it be great when he is out of nappies?” “Imagine when he can get in the car by himself and do up his own seat belt.”

Some of the stages were difficult and some were delightful. However, all of them were necessary in his growth as a boy.

Fast forward almost 12 years and he is now only a centimetre or two off my height. Over the past 12 years, countless changes have occurred. Some of them I noticed along the way yet others have snuck up on me.

These changes may be almost 12 years in the making, but in some ways, they have all happened too quickly. When I take a step back, it’s hard to believe the young man in front of me was the same little bundle I brought home from hospital.

Things in our lives are changing all the time. Yet when we look for changes we never seem to see them. Sometimes all we can see is the difficult stage and we find ourselves wishing for the next stage — “I can’t wait until my business is profitable.” “Won’t it be great when we own our own house?” “I wish I was a size 10 NOW!”

But the difficult stage is necessary, just as the delightful stage is necessary. In every stage there are lessons to learn, foundations to build, and changes to consolidate. Even though we may not be seeing many changes (or the changes we want to see), they are happening regardless.

If you are impatiently waiting for something to change in your life, then keep waiting. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey you are on. Don’t forget to look at everything else that is happening in your life. Everything that is good and even the stuff that’s not so good.

If all you ever do is focus on what is NOT happening, you’ll go through your life miserable and frustrated.

So take a step back and look around you. Take it all in. And when you glance back at the thing you are hoping will change, I’m sure you’ll find that it has.

Write to the Point CommunicationsNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

 So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

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My greatest inspiration

IMG_4567

My two biggest inspirations.

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you work? Why do you exercise? Why do you run a taxi service to your kids in your spare time? Why do you go to church?

Why do you REALLY do these things?

Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve never taken the time to think about it before. Maybe you think you know, but you really don’t. Maybe you don’t even care.

However, if you don’t know the real reason behind the choices you make every day, then what you are doing is not really a choice. It’s either a habit, something you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should do’, or something you do because everyone else is doing it.

When you know your real reason — your ‘WHY’ for doing the things you do, then the actual performing of these tasks (no matter how unpleasant/boring/time-wasting they may be), has a little more meaning, and therefore a purpose. It becomes easier to ‘roll with life’, because you are no longer just going through the motions, wondering what it’s all for.

Instead, your life becomes more focused, more meaningful and a lot happier. Because all of a sudden, you’re not just ‘going to work to pay the bills’. Instead, you ‘re ‘working so you can take that overseas trip’, or you’re driving the kids around ‘so they have an opportunity to develop friendships’.

See the difference?

The same goes for taking care of your health. Many of us say we ‘need to lose weight’ or ‘want to get fit’. Why?

If you ‘need to lose weight’ because everyone else is on a diet, then that’s not a good reason. If you ‘want to get fit’ because Cross-fit is the new best thing, then that’s not a reason either. Even a doctor telling you that you need to do something about your health is not a reason, unless it is YOUR reason. You have to own your reason. You have to really understand WHY you do the things you do.

I have recently done this with regard to my health. What started out as ‘wanting to lose weight’ has evolved into something more meaningful. I no longer care about my ‘weight’, because I have learnt that weight is only a small measure of the kind of person I am. Sure, I want to be living in a body that can continue to move as I age. I want to feel healthy and vibrant and enjoy life as I get older. I do want to feel good and happy about who I am. And the vainer part of me wants to look good! But my real reason — my WHY for training and eating and changing my life for the better, is not about me anymore.

It’s about the dream I have for my kids.

I don’t want them to bury me before my time or to watch me die from a disease I can prevent. I don’t want them to spend their adulthood caring for me, because I haven’t taken good care of myself. I don’t want them to spend their time taking me to doctors, hospitals and medical appointments, or worrying about my health. I want to know my grandkids and have a quality relationship with them. I want to do things with my family, rather than just watch from the sidelines. I want our time together on this earth to be of the highest quality it can be, doing things that matter and things that make us happy. Making happy memories instead of sad ones.

I want my kids to be happy. I want them to know what makes them happy. I want them to be strong enough in themselves to be who THEY want to be, not what the world tells them they should be. I want them to follow their own dreams and passions, whatever they are, and regardless of what others may say about it.

I want my kids to love and value themselves, and to see value in everyone they meet. I want them to inspire and encourage others to be better people. I want them to bring joy to the lives of others, simply by being themselves. I want them to respect themselves and those around them.

I want them to develop a love for healthy food and exercise, so they can live healthy lives. I don’t want them fighting disease, illness or depression. Instead, I want them to make the most out of life.

don't tell people your dreamsI want my kids to be the best they can be and know it’s okay to aspire to greatness. I want them to be proud of who they are as people and what they contribute to the world. I want them to value their uniqueness and special gifts they have been blessed with, and to use those gifts to help others.

I want them to be resilient enough to rise above negativity and hate, and know that when they experience that, it is not a reflection of them, but rather the person who is being negative and hateful. I want them to be confident in who they are, and to never, ever let others’ negativity get the better of them, or cause them to think negatively of themselves.

I want them to seize opportunities when they come along, without worrying about whether they are ‘good enough’ to follow through. I want them to be confident in themselves and their abilities. I want them to trust themselves, and know that they will always find a solution to a problem.

I realise that is a pretty big dream I have for my kids. But I believe it is a worthy dream.

While it’s true that none of us can control how our kids’ lives turn out, we do have an opportunity to model to them what we value in life.

I’m not saying that I am all of the above — but I am working on being so.

The interesting thing about all of this is that since writing down WHY I am making positive changes in my life, I find myself reflecting on the above while I am doing other seemingly mundane and meaningless things such as cleaning the bathroom, doing the grocery shopping and taking out the rubbish.

Although I am not fully embracing the less appealing tasks involved in raising kids, every now and then I catch myself thinking “Why am I REALLY doing this?” And it causes me to turn my negative feelings about these jobs into more meaningful ones.

Why do you do what you do?

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Head in the sand? Absolutely!

I’m usually not one for avoiding the facts. Sometimes I might put off unpleasant tasks (just take a look at my ironing basket), but most of the time, my attitude is ‘if it needs to be done, just get on and do it’.

However, there is something I have been putting off, and putting off. I’ve been burying my head in the sand and living in denial. I’ve been pushing the thought of it out of my mind over and over again. For now, it is working. But I know that one day all too soon, I won’t be able to deny it anymore.

You see, my oldest is about to finish primary school.

What a difference 6 years makes

What a difference 6 years makes

I know that some of you reading this have been through this in the past couple of years — and you can empathise with me. Thank you.

I know that some of you have children who haven’t even started school yet, so cannot possibly comprehend them being old enough to head off to high school. But think for a moment of your little one starting primary school. It’s a little like that — only worse.

And then there are some of you who are wondering why is it such a big deal.

I too am wondering the same. After all, my son is ready to go off to high school. He is looking forward to new things, making new friends and beginning a new chapter in his life.

So if he is happy, why aren’t I?

Well, I am happy — sort of. I’m happy that he is ready to go, I’m happy that he wants to go. I’m happy that he has the confidence and sense of adventure that enables him to look forward to high school rather than be afraid of it. But that’s where it ends.

Truth be told, I’m not really ready for my boy to grow up.

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy absolutely EVERY single primary school activity. I mean, standing out in the driving rain, watching district cross-country is not much fun. Nor is being squashed in a gym for over an hour in 40+ degree heat watching over 100 kids receive basketball medals.

But overall, primary school has been a wonderful experience for both of us.

Events and activities such as the Prep Alphabet Concert, the Grade 1 Fairy Tale Ball, right through to the annual Christmas Concert, provided us with many laughs and fond memories (despite the headaches involved in sorting out costumes!).

Then there was the seemingly endless array of sporting activities — School cross country, District cross country, School athletics, District athletics, District tennis, Inter-school sport, After-school basketball, swimming, skip-a-thons, fun runs, etc. At the time, it seemed a big chunk out of my week to attend all these things. But really, they have come and gone in a blink of an eye and the only reminder is a bunch of ribbons and medals, and some photographs that showed just how little my boy was when he started school.

If the first year of primary school is a series of ‘firsts’, then the last year is a series of ‘lasts’. The last cross country, the last athletics day, the last school production, the last season of basketball.

I’m trying very hard not to think about these events as ‘the last’. For the most part I am succeeding. However, I know that when the school production is done and the last goal has been scored in basketball, a part of me will wish we could do it over again. I am sure there will be a tear in my eye.

As I sit here and write this, we have just under 18 weeks of school left for the year.

head in the sand18 weeks to enjoy.

18 weeks to savour.

18 weeks to pull my head out of the sand … somehow.

In the meantime, perhaps I’ll go and tackle my ironing basket.

 

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

 

How to avoid feeling old

IMG_3836Why is it that a five minutes of running on a treadmill can seem like an eternity, but 10 years can pass in a flash?

Or that 30 minute appointment at the dentist seems like hours, but a night out with friends is over before you know it.

Why is it, that your child’s first day at school seemed to last longer than the many years they actually spend at school?

It truly is one of life’s great mysteries to me. That time can go by at different speeds even though it is a finite entity.

Time is something that continues to tick on, one minute after the next, slowly adding up until a substantial amount of time has passed. It doesn’t slow down or speed up as many of us think it does. In fact, the speed of time passing seems to be relative to its significance or enjoyment.

Albert Einstein (the clever man that he was), summed it up perfectly:

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

Last week, two things happened made me realise just how quickly time can pass.

The first was when my son lost his last baby tooth. The last visit from the Tooth Fairy left me wondering where did that time go? How did we get here all of a sudden? It wasn’t that long ago we were waiting for his first tooth to come through. It seemed like yesterday when he lost his very first tooth (at his Nana Jude’s house!) Yet here he was, with none of his original teeth left.

The second was the form we received from school for my son to apply to attend high school next year. Hang on! Haven’t we just settled him in primary school? Why is it time for him to think about heading off to high school?

However, the series of school photos on my desk tells me that it is time for us to fill in this form. That he is indeed in his final year of primary school, and time is not playing a trick on us.

Psychologists call this tendency to think past events have happened more recently than they actually have, ‘forward telescoping’. It happens to us all. Often, we are surprised that significant events happened so long ago. Case in point — my son starting primary school and losing his first tooth.

There seem to be a few theories as to why time speeds up as we get older, which are interesting to read. However, the existence of these theories doesn’t change the fact that time marches on.

If the speed at which the last ten years has gone by is anything to go by, I’d say that I will be nearing retirement age before I know it! In fact, while having dinner with friends a few weeks ago, one of them ‘kindly’ pointed out that it is only 15 years until some of us would be in our 60s…. That was truly shocking.

It made me realise that time isn’t an endless commodity that can be squandered. I also realised that thinking about all the things that had already passed, made me feel a little old.

Many of us fail to realise that getting older is a privilege. I know I am guilty of that sometimes. A part of me can’t help wishing my kids would stay little. Sometimes I feel sad that the things we did together when they were small are all in the past, never to happen again. However, the fact that time has disappeared so quickly is surely an indication that we have all had a great time along the way.

While it’s great to look back and relive memories, spending most of our time looking back and wishing things were different is not great. It means we miss a new lot of experiences — things that are happening now, and things that will happen in the future, new friends and new opportunities.

don't regret growing olderMy son is not upset that his last tooth has gone. In fact, it means that he is now a step closer to getting his braces on (which is kind of a cool thing these days). As for going to high school, well he can’t wait to meet a whole lot of new friends and learn new things. He’s more than willing to embrace the next phase of his life.

The challenge for me is to embrace the next phase too — in particular, accepting that my children are getting older. Instead of wondering where my ‘little kids’ have gone, I should be engaged in the new experiences that await them, eagerly anticipating the future alongside them, rather than feeling sad (and old) for what has passed.

And maybe, just maybe, I will be so busy having a ball with them (like I have for the last 10 years), that I won’t have time to realise that I am getting older as well.

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copy writing, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Things I learned at primary school

Prep - Grade 6. How much they change

Prep – Grade 6. How much they change

This year heralds the last year of primary school for my son. Despite my reluctance, I have been forced to acknowledge this in a recent trip down memory lane.

Like most schools, our Grade 6 students have a graduation event at the end of the year. Already a group of us are beginning to organise it. Part of that organisation involves putting together a memory book for the kids of their time at primary school. Our job as parents was to go through all of our photos and pick out some that may be suitable.

What I thought would be a relatively quick exercise, took nearly a whole day. There was lots of laughter, some moments of sadness and a realisation that my son has done a whole lot of growing since being at school. And while searching through my archives and CDs full of pictures, I realised that even though I haven’t been an enrolled student in primary school for quite a number of years, I have actually learned some new lessons during my ‘second time around’ at primary school.

So if you have recently begun the primary school journey, or will do so in the next couple of years, I hope that my lessons may help you make the most of this incredibly special time.

Get involved: It can seem like a thankless task to be involved at school. And sometimes it is. But it’s important to be involved. By being involved you show your children that their schooling is important. It shows them that you value the school. By being involved (whether it be on a committee, helping out with excursions, school discos, stalls or being a class rep), you are taking an active interest in your child’s educational experience. And it’s one that they will value and remember forever.

Encourage your kids to be involved: Encourage your kids to play for a school sporting team, or join the environmental group, or go to the school disco. When your child is involved, they develop friendships and a sense of belonging. They feel connected to the school and it becomes a happy and safe place to be.

Help out: Teachers always appreciate help when needed (particularly in the younger grades). While going up to listen to kids reading every week wasn’t always my first choice of activity, I am so glad I did it. Not only does it help your children feel like you are interested in what they do, it helps you get to the know the children in their grade. One of my friends and I have some fond (and funny) memories of helping out during Grade 1 reading or with the Christmas craft. So there will be something in it for you too.

Get to know the teachers: I am really surprised at the number of parents who don’t get to know their child’s teacher. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should take the time to introduce yourself, particularly at the beginning of the year. When you see them in the playground, stop and say hello. After all, these people are spending most of the day with your child, so why wouldn’t you want to get to know them? They’re not intimidating and some of them are actually very nice people!

Support the teachers: On the subject of teachers, you really should support them. If you want them to give the best of themselves to the education and care of your child, then show them you’re on their side. If they are doing a good job, tell them — and the principal. Positive feedback goes a very long way. If you have a problem with them or their methods, then speak to them privately, rather than holding court in the playground and whingeing about everything you don’t like. If you don’t support and respect the person teaching your child, chances are your child won’t either — and that is only going to hurt your child in the end.

Make an effort when it’s time to dress up: Looking back, there were many ‘dress-up’ days throughout my son’s primary school life — all of which hold fond memories. I remember searching high and low for a green and gold shirt so my son could dress up as an “Australian Athlete” for the Prep alphabet concert. Letting him wear his pyjamas to school for the annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic for the Prep and Grade 5 buddies. There were days of running around looking for supplies so I could make a “Jack in the Beanstalk” costume for the Grade 1 Fairy Tale Ball. Off to the shops again to find some red pants so he could dress up as “Mr Strong” for Grade 1 Book Week or a red sheet for “Captain Underpants” for Grade 5 Book Week. And of course the annual Footy Day! Some days it was exhausting and my creativity ran dry at times. But the look on his face as he proudly displayed his costume was priceless. And it makes for some great photos!

Take pictures — lots of pictures: Speaking of photos, take them. Lots of them. Don’t just leave it for the ‘first day of school’ or them displaying a ribbon after winning the 100m dash. Take photos of them participating in sports. (I have a very funny one of my son in Grade 1 diving over the high jump rope. Yes, diving with this arms together and his hands pointing forward). The more photos you take the more memories you have. Take photos of them with their friends. Getting on the bus to go to camp. Getting off the bus to come home from camp. Sports days, Christmas concert, School production. Take photos at any opportunity. You don’t realise how much they change and grow during these seven years at school. When their primary school years are over, these photos will be among the few memories you have left.

On the subject of photos, take comparative pictures. Amongst my favourites are the First day of Prep and First day of Grade 6  photos. This year, we took the time to recreate the photos that we took all those years ago when my son started school. Same poses, same positions in the yard. And it is such a great way to see how much they really grow and change.

Go to sports days: It’s not always the most exciting of days. Standing around in the hot sun, waiting for your child to run or jump. And yes, there were many a time when I would have rather have stayed home. But I am proud to say I have made the effort to go to every single one. Sports days, Cross Country, District sports, Hoop Time — all of it. The same goes for other special events. ‘Open Day’ at school where you have an opportunity to look through your child’s class. Information nights, the multitude of concerts and performances throughout their young years. They will love you for supporting them, and you will love it simply because you are watching them shine.

Which brings me to the next point –

Cheer them on!: Sure, you child may not be the fastest runner, or the best reader, or the most creative when it comes to art. They may not even be very attentive when they need to be. But you have an opportunity to build them up, or pull them down. Always praise them. Don’t lie about them being the best. Instead, a simple “I love the way you tried your best and never gave up” or “I’m so proud of you for being part of the team” or “Your reading is getting better and better”, really does go a long way. That said, if they do win a race, or an award, then be proud. Don’t play down their achievements because others may be jealous. Congratulating a person on achieving something is an important part of life, particularly for a child.

Enjoy the experience: I’m the first to admit that primary school is not all roses. There are so many issues to contend with — concentrating in class, making friendships, learning to be organised, getting homework done, etc. But the time really does fly. One day you’re sending them off to the big world of school, and the next you’re prepping them to say goodbye to that familiar place. Primary school is such a huge part of your child’s life and your own. It’s precious learning and growing time, and time when your child will begin to exhibit natural gifts and talents. Make sure you take the time to enjoy it, rather than rushing from one thing to another.

Show an interest: Show an interest in your child’s school life. Ask them about their day. Sit with them while they do homework. Read some of their books with them. When they think you value school, then they will too. Not only will you have a handle on where your child is at, you will also open up the doors to a whole lot of different conversations and opportunities for learning.

And finally…

Don’t cry when it’s over: I can’t guarantee that I will achieve this one. In fact, I know I won’t. My son’s primary school years have been so much fun. The school has been such a wonderful community and has provided so many opportunities for my son to grow and learn. He has achieved success in many things, and learned hard lessons in other areas. He has brought tears of laughter to my face with his various performances, both on the sporting ground and on the stage. Did I say it was fun?

What fun we had dressing up!

What fun we had dressing up!

I think it’s ok to be emotional about a phase of their life being over, but it’s not okay to let that overshadow their excitement and enthusiasm to enter the world of high school. We shouldn’t make them feel guilty for growing up or wanting to move to the next phase of life.

I know that it’s still early on in the year. We still have close to 10 months of primary school left. But if the rate at which time has already disappeared is anything to go by, the remaining year will be over in a blink of an eye. So with the lessons above in mind, my son and I are set to make Grade 6 the best and most fun year of primary school ever.

And the way it’s going so far, I’d say we are well on track.

Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

 So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

The day I farewelled my little boy

2 year old Josh with the Christmas stocking I made for him.

2 year old Josh with the Christmas stocking I made for him.

A lump formed in my throat as I handed him the letter. I watched as he took it outside and sat down to read it in the garden. A tear rolled down my cheek. This was the end of something special.

 Dear Josh

You have asked a really good question – “Is Santa real?” 

I know that you want to know the answer, so I have given it some careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is yes — and no.

There is no one, single Santa.

Dad and I fill your stocking and choose and wrap the presents under the tree — just as our parents did for us, their parents did for them, and you will do for your kids one day.

This could never make any of us Santa though. Santa is lots and lots of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.

He lives in our hearts — not at the North Pole.

Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does is teach children to believe in something they can’t see or touch.

Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe in yourself, in your family, in your friends and in God.

You’ll need to be able to believe in things you can’t measure or hold in your hands.

Now you know the secret of how he gets to visit every house on Christmas Eve — he has help from all of those people whose hearts he has filled with joy.

With hearts full of love, people like Dad and I take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So there is no Santa who lives at the North Pole. Santa is love and magic, and hope and happiness.

We are on his team and now you are too!

But part of that important job is to keep the magic alive for people who think that Santa is one person who lives at the North Pole — like Laura.

It’s very important that you do not spoil it for her. Let her believe and have the same magic and wonder that you did — until she is ready to know the secret.

We are very proud of you and love you oh, so much. And we know you are going to make a great member of Santa’s team.

Love Mum xoxoxo

(Disclaimer: The above letter is a version of one that I saw posted on Facebook last year, which I kept and modified for my son. I thought it a lovely way to answer the tricky question of Santa, so thank you to whoever posted that last year!)

My son came in soon after with a knowing look and a smile.

“Right,” he said, with a wink.

“So what do you think?” I asked him, sure that he would be a little sad. He is quite a sensitive soul after all. “Are you okay?”

“Yep,” he said with a big grin.

Oh, so it was only me who was having difficulty with it all.

So while his sister was playing with her Barbies, I took him outside so we could talk more freely and not give the secret away.

“Do you have any questions?” I asked

“Well, the Tooth Fairy? What about her?”

“Same kind of concept.”

“I thought so,” he said.

“And all the letters that Santa left us, you just wrote those in different writing, didn’t you?”’

“Yep.”

“And the crunched up carrot and reindeer food. Did you eat those carrots and spit them around the back patio?”

“Dad and I did.”

He laughed.

“That would have been hilarious,” he said. “Can I help this year, seeing as I am on the team now?”

The 'hilarious' remnants of carrot and reindeer food.

The ‘hilarious’ remnants of carrot and reindeer food.

So we sat for a while and he asked all kinds of questions ranging from how much we paid for the bike that Santa brought him, how does Santa bring back their Christmas letters every year (seeing as they have been posted in a letter box), and who eats the food we leave out for Santa.

After we had talked, as perceptive as always, he said to me: “I’m not sad about it, but I know you are, aren’t you?”

And yes, part of me was feeling sad because I had just farewelled my innocent, little boy who had been living with us for nearly 11 years. One of the last remnants of his ‘littleness’ was now gone.

There would be no more letters to Santa (except to keep the pretence up for his younger sister). There was no more ‘tricking him into bed’ because Santa was coming. No more gazing at the sky to look for a sleigh, and definitely no more entertaining theories on how Santa does what he does.

However, in front of me was a grown-up version of my son. He was wiser, stronger and happier for the knowing. Taking it all in his stride and already thinking about what he can do to make Christmas special for his 8-year old sister.

Since he has learned “Santa’s secret”, we have had many secret conversations about Christmas and Santa (often behind closed doors or while his sister is otherwise occupied), which has delighted him. He feels very grown up and is chuffed to be ‘in on it’. He even told me that I did “a pretty good job at being Santa” and that I “thought of everything!”

Thank you my darling. I tried to make it as magical as I could.

While it is sad for me to let my little boy go, it is also a wonderful privilege to be there with him as he grows into a gorgeous young man.

I would like to officially welcome him, as the newest member of Santa’s team.

Christmas 2012 - the last one when "The man from the North Pole" came to visit Josh. While the boy has changed a bit, he still has the same Christmas stocking I made him all those years ago.

Christmas 2012 – the last one when “the man from the North Pole” came to visit Josh. While my son has changed a bit over the years, he still has the same Christmas stocking I made him all those years ago. Oh and we still wear our PJs when opening Santa’s presents!

 

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Allison Tait

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