Throughout the ages there has always been a great deal of controversy about Santa Claus.
Is he real? Is he not? The question, as far as I understand, has never been resolved, but remains one of those illusive, unsolved mysteries everyone seems to have a different theory about.
When I was about six or seven and was supposed to be asleep but wasn’t, and caught sight of a guy who looked a lot like my brother stuffing my little brown stocking with a bow and arrow, (my brothers were convinced I needed boy toys) I was convinced.
Santa was my brother.
However, years later one my other brothers told me that our brother (aka Santa) had told him to “Grow up, and quit looking for hoof prints on the roof because there was no Santa Claus.”
My belief was shaken, because more than even for myself, I desperately needed my brother, who loved kittens and cocoa and the Toronto Maple Leafs pretty much in that order, to believe there really was a Santa Claus and that many unsuspected good and wonderful things would happen to him in his lifetime.
He was only a boy after all; a boy who came home from school every day with the certainty that he would see his mom in the kitchen when he glanced in the window. And then one day when he hurried home, he looked in the window, but the kitchen was empty.
They told us our mom had gone to be with the angels, but for some reason, that didn’t seem particularly comforting at the time.
And so we both became disillusioned about Santa and my brother no longer checked the roof for hoof prints and neither he nor I expected to see our mom after school or at any other time, for that matter.
But, just to throw a little controversy into the pot, I do believe the Leafs won that year.
And I still wonder if that was the year Santa was disguised as a goalie or maybe he was a really good forward dressed in a blue and white jersey emblazed with the familiar maple leaf.
As for me, I was done.
Santa did not exist.
What I had suspected was true.
But then one icy, cold morning in November when the world was all quiet and puppies and children and all good people were sleeping still, I became a mom.
And when I first laid eyes on the sleeping face of my newborn son, Santa, who had somehow vanished from my life so many years ago, suddenly re-appeared.
Two years later, during a time when white city streets got all dressed up in red and green and silver bells, their notes playing frozen tag in the air like a bunch of happy, carefree children, rang out good tidings, my second child, a daughter was born.
And, when I first held her close to me, devouring the magic of her soft baby sweetness into the very core of my being, I swear I could hear the tinkle of sleigh bells over the hospital roof.
We held a little birthday party for our very own December child the other day.
Of course, now she’s a grown up lady with babes of her own and her very own reasons for believing in the mystical jolly old elf dressed in red and white.
And, somehow as I sat there, over the gentle laughter of my children, I swear I could hear, once again, the tinkle of sleigh bells over the restaurant roof.
But later when my husband put his glasses on to peer at the astronomical numbers of the bill for our meal, then simply smiled and said, “I’ll get this,” I knew I was wrong.
Santa wasn’t on the roof. He was sitting beside me.