At 8:20 this morning, I had in my possession Sam's letter to Santa. He worked so hard on it--because it wasn't just a letter written on normal notebook paper. He crafted (with a little help) a construction paper Christmas tree, which he decorated with tiny Santa hats (also made with a little help from yours truly). In the body of the tree, he wrote his letter, asking for a particular NFL jersey. As I got the envelope for him, he was adamant that HE address it himself... "So Santa really knows it's from me" he said. It was adorable and it made me want to scoop him up in my arms and wallow in the cuteness of it all. After school today, we stopped at the mailbox. I pulled the van up to drop off the letter, but rather than just stopping at the driver's side window, I pulled forward a bit more and hit the button to open the back door--Sam was going to drop this one in on his own. And he did.
By 9:20 this evening, however, he had lost the wide-eyed innocence he possessed earlier in the day. Apparently, while at their dad's house, Sam, Jack and Charlie began asking questions about Santa. And so the cat was let out of the bag, so to speak; now the three of them are that much wiser where the holiday and Santa's gift-giving are concerned. But, if you ask me, I wish they hadn't found out. Not just yet. I knew this day would come, and to be honest, I really thought it would have already happened for Jack and Charlie. But Sam? He's only seven. Make that seven-and-a-half... and I have to say, as I write this, I could just burst into tears. Is it selfish to have wanted just one more year? Especially since I watched him create such a wonderful, creative letter for Santa just last night? I know with Bobby heading into his first Christmas at just 9 months, we're in for many, many years of Christmas magic featuring Santa and his team of tiny reindeer. But for a long time, up until last March, Sam was my "baby." I sometimes feel like he jumped way ahead of things because he wanted so desperately to keep up with his older brothers--like he went straight from Sesame Street to Star Wars. And I have to say... this makes me monumentally sad. Not just knowing how quickly he grew up (and IS growing up), but that this is a huge reminder that he can't stay a little kid forever. None of them can.
I am almost wishing and hoping the Post Office deems Sam's letter "undeliverable," and returns it to us. (I made sure I had the return address clearly written in the upper left corner.) I think I'd like to keep this one, this last one, for a long, long time.
I think with the boys on the "other side" of the Christmas magic now, things will be extra special for Bobby in the coming years. Jack, Charlie and Sam will be able to help pull off special surprises for their little brother, and experience the joy of seeing him wide-eyed with the wonder of the holidays... just as I have done for them for the past 10 years. But I will still miss seeing the magic of Christmas in their eyes.