It's sort of insanely reassuring in an infuriating way that no matter how old my children get, they can still find ways to nitpick and nag and annoy one another mercilessly and with extreme prejudice.
Savannah's car overheated again and she needs to take the bus tomorrow. Gabi's been dreadfully sick and miserable for four days. Those things can make even the best of us grumpy, but tonite their disdain went into full bloom--each in the other's direction.
Christmas used to come with the fool-proof promise of effective threats that could be flung by me (at them) at will. With Santa quite clearly out of the equation, what weapon do I have?
Losing their belief in Santa Claus has resulted not in tearful nostalgia for young innocence lost, but in parental impotence at naughty behavior.
As they hurled snarky (and downright ridiculous) taunts (oozing sarcasm tinged with mean) at one another like the final match at Wimbledon, I could do nothing but pour a glass of wine and creep up the stairs to hide in the warm, soothing womb of my bathtub--where I wouldn't be able to hear their nastiness.
I want my tale of woe to be a warning to other parents: NEVER LET SANTA DIE!!
I know, I know--I got sick of the fat guy stealing all the credit for my hard work, empty bank account and awesome Christmas morning experience, too. But, believe me, it's all worth it when you can elicit a Pavlovian response from your children that results in pleasant attitudes and considerate behavior at the threat of losing their good standing with Kris Kringle.
Am I romanticizing things a bit? Maybe. But this one fact holds true: parents need things with which to threaten and terrify their children. Santa has proven one of the most effective ways to fulfill this need. Don't let your kids' belief wane before you have found an apt replacement.
It's never too late to use hollow threats and (let's just admit it) bribes to manipulate our children. After all, they are the future--we owe it to them to remain strong and deceitful (all in their best interest, of course) and indulgent. So, Fellow Parents--heed my call--keep Santa going as long as you can! After that, it's all up to us.