Little White Lie with a Snowy White Beard

I got the dreaded question today. No, not the one about how babies are made. The other one: "Mommy, is Santa real?"

I feel like Lucy is simply too young to be pondering this already, but I probably need to face the fact that at 5 years old she's a pretty sophisticated little kid now. Anyway, I told her that I believe in Santa Claus and that if you believe in Santa, then he is real. She replied that maybe she should believe in Santa this year too. I asked her what made her ask this question and what did she really mean -- had she heard something about Santa (perhaps those stupid WalMart commercials are casting doubt!)? She said she just wanted to know if Santa is real -- if he is a true person.
Oh, dear.

I thought of my Aunt Anna who was devastated to find out from a classmate when she was quite a bit older than Lucy that Santa, in fact, was not real. Aunt Anna was not pleased that my grandparents had led her to believe that Santa existed when he really didn't exist after all. I honestly feel terrible about telling this little white lie with the snowy white beard, fearing that Lucy, who is similarly analytical as my Aunt Anna, will become upset when she learns Santa is more of a concept than an actual person.

I guess I can shelve the guilt and worry this year because she's only asked one other time and seems to be accepting my answer for now.


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