We have had a busy and fun week. Last Saturday we went to Advocates For Children Christmas festival. Rick Chareck (children's song writer) was there again, although the kids were not at all interested in attending the concert. So we stayed in the room where he was singing for five minutes (while they felt tortured the whole time) then went quickly back to the gymnasium. In there, we found something for everyone....... animals for Caleb; he got to hold a huge Boa Constrictor, several birds of prey (which he totally loved) and a Cockatoo. I never in my life would have imagined this kid liking snakes...but he does. This boy is afraid of most domesticated animals (like dogs and cats....which is one of the reasons we are getting a dog) but for some reason he loves snakes. I might add, he did NOT try to charm this one. Maybe it had something to do with it's size.
Lundi, on the other hand, didn't like the idea of holding a snake, as you can see. I don't know if she regrets it, but she was definently in a hurry to get it off her back!
...in the bounce house. I think we waited in that line sixteen times. They couldn't get enough of it.
Have things changed...or is it just me? Wasn't Santa soooo much more exciting when we were kids? I just remember having a conversation with him while sitting on his lap. Yes...it was usually the same every year, but still it was great to have somebody to tell my greatest wishes to, and hope that they MIGHT come true. Are kids just so greedy these days that Santa just doesn't bother to ask? The last few times my kids have sat on Santa's lap, it was just for a picture, then they were brushed aside so he could get to the next kid. And I never even buy those pictures, I just want them to have the experience. But I have learned the "experience" to be very different today than it was when I was a kid. I find it sad. I am disenchanted. Anybody know of an interactive Santa Clause? Do they still exist these days? Maybe there is some stupid law against Santa talking to kids. I just don't get it.
Now that we are on the subject of Santa Clause, I'll write about a conversation that I had with Caleb (sniff) today. Yes, he asked me..."Is Santa real, Mom?" I said "Why do you ask, son?" I wondered if I could, once again cover up something he had heard. You know.....keep the magic.
He then said "Because Jamie and Jared told me that they have Christmas without Santa Clause. And Chris told me that I was a baby if I believed in Santa." (This is when I wanted to cry.) On the one hand, I wanted to tell him that they were wrong. On the other hand, I didn't want to make him a target for ridicule among his friends because he professed a belief in the jolly man himself. (It is moments like this that I find particularly hard about being a parent, btw.) But most importantly, I tried to follow the spirit. It occured to me that we teach him many things that seem "impossible" or "extraordinary." For instance, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. We encourage him to pray about this and gain his own testimony of it's truthfulness. This was indeed an extraordinary event in the history of the church. He has been taught this since he was a baby. He has never questioned it. But if and when he ever does, I want him to trust me to tell him the truth. I don't want him to think "Well, she lied about the reality of Santa Clause, is she lying about this too? It seems just as weird as the idea of a man in a red suit flying through the air in a sleigh." Granted, the Holy Ghost will (and perhaps already has) tell him that this is true. But I couldn't really say "Well, Caleb, why don't you ask Heavenly father if Santa is real." So instead I told him about the origin of Saint Nicholas and that it is such a neat tradition, that we continue it today. He then asked "Well, how do ALL those presents get under the tree.?" I said (the hardest words that I uttered today) "Mommy and Papa put them there." His face drooped in disappointment and he said "Really?" "Yes, son." It was then that I (almost) regretted telling him the truth about Santa. So I hugged him and told him that I loved him so much. He then went on to talk about the Savior and how He was the most important part of Christmas, anyway. I agreed and told him that I was glad he asked me. "It means alot to me that you come to me with these questions, Caleb. You can always ask me anything you want." It was bitter sweet.
I really hate (I don't even know what to call it) to see them "lose their innocence"(???). Not just the Santa thing. But like the time when I had to explain foster parenting to Caleb and he was so shocked that kids actually get taken away from their parents. Or when I had to explain murder to him, Or when he asked me about why someone had to go to jail. Or why his freinds parents were getting divorced. Or explain to him that Grandma use to be an active member of the church, but doesn't believe it any more. When she was here, he asked me why she drinks coffee (I remember thinking this was so bad when I was a kid) and I told him to ask her. He wasn't judging her. He simply wanted to know and was sad for her. So he asked her and she was (at first) very defensive and said "it's none of your business, Caleb." I said "Mom, he asked me and I didn't know what to tell him. So can you please explain it to him?" She then said "Well, it's not right for some people, but it's ok for me and I like it." When he asked me, I didn't know how to answer without either A) making her look bad or B) Justifying it and making our standards seem unimportant. He later came to me and said "Satan is tricking her, huh Mom?" I simply said "Remember her in your prayers, Caleb. Also remember that we all make our own choices. God's greatest gift to us is the gift of agency."
Like I said, I really struggle with these types of things. This boy feels things so deeply. He is a good spirit and truly wants to do what's right. Because of that, he sometimes has a hard (even impossible) time understanding why other people make the choices that they do.....especially when they "know better". We as his parents talk to him often about how we all make choices, good or bad and we can't force anyone to do anything. We all have to make choices according to our conscience and that everybody has a different level of conscientiousness, even among the members of the church. Everybody is at a differnt point in their spiritual journey. But we are all trying to get back to Heavenly Father and we all need to help each other. I ususlly try to drive home this point with a question like "Caleb , do Papa and I teach you not to hit your brother?" He says "Yes." I then ask "So if you know it is wrong, why do you do it?" It seems to click when we give him an example where he can look at himself, rather than somebody else. When he asks these complex questions, we do our best to explain it to him.
WOW, this has turned into a totally different post then I intended it to be. But I am glad I recorded this experience, even though it is a big tangent. This is my journal, after all.
I really could write all night but, I just noticed the time, it's 1:49 in the morning! We will be up early to go to the tree farm to cut down our tree tomorrow so I must be off to bed.
But before I go...meet our new baby...(who will either be named Abby, Charlotte, Soleil, Jetta, Paris or Luna). She came over for a visit tonight, much to the delight to everyone in the house. She will officially come to live with us two weeks from today.
And I thought that only HUMAN babies were this much fun. We are already in love with her and are so excited to have her! As you can see, even Caleb is warming right up to her!
Signing off at 2:00am....