I've got three children now.
And in the time I've been raising children, I've now gotten to be: the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
It has been a long time since I was visited by any of these three. But I can tell you this, when I replace a tooth with some cash, leave eggs for my kids, or put a present under the tree: I feel.....magic.
No, I mean, like real magic. I feel the awe and the wonder before my kids do, only I get to be there and see how it happens before they do, but it is a magical experience.
I do remember how sad I was when I found out Santa wasn't 'real' and talking with my dad about it and him telling me how he found out from his dad. Gosh I miss my dad. This is my first Christmas where I don't even call or text him or anything since he died in March.
But his dad would take him out or something and he'd come home and presto! Santa visited while they were gone...and he figured it out. And he was bummed like I was.
One thing my dad was good at was being a comfort when I got knocked down by life and telling me how he felt the same way at some point. Just knowing someone else, your dad, could tell you - you aren't crazy - really made the difference the times he did it.
But here's the thing: I got a card from Santa when I was a kid thanking me for the Milk n' Cookies I left him. It was a very pretty card with a very pretty Christmas tree on it and it was written to me personally and had my name on it.
Even though I know now who wrote it, it's like, that magic still lives inside me. I still got a real letter in a card from Santa to me personally!
All the times he came to our pre-school, let us ring his bell he carried, pulling on his beard, it was real. I remember it all! And then the next morning telling the other kids what I got from Santa and hearing what they got. Even though I know, I still remember it like it was!
And now my kids get letters from the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny and Santa....you name it. And they thrill to hear what's written in them.
It was real to me then, and its real to them now. And I *STILL* feel the magic even now.
And that, is one thing about childhood I hope will never change. So far, it has held true now for nearly forty years.