I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of another familial icon: Santa Claus. Vivian officially stopped believing in him on the day that I took the last Northlander to Huntsville.
Just as she did with the Tooth Fairy, Vivian called out Erin on whether or not Santa Claus was real. “I just don’t understand it,” she said. “How could he give all those presents to everybody? In the world? On the same night?” And Erin valiantly tried to come up with a stop-gap answer, only to get a look from Vivian that told her that the girl wasn’t buying it, and Erin sagged her shoulders and said, “I’m busted, aren’t I?”
“Busted!” Vivian crowed.
I remember believing in Santa Claus when I was at Vivian’s level in school (grade two, just before Christmas), but I was also six months older at the time (April birth vs. November). I think that by grade three I had basically clued into the fact that it was all a game and was, at most, playing along in the hopes of getting presents. Vivian, for her part, has promised to keep the secret from Nora.