I do a ridiculous amount of complaining about Ben’s father, some (most) of it justified, and some of it not. I had a particularly good bitch-session with Dave this past weekend, when Nat had finally realized that we’d added my last name to the end of Ben’s last name. The reasons ran from making sure that Ben got his mail in a timely manner to my dislike of being called Mrs. (Nat’s last name). I mean, if I’d wanted this to be my last name, I’d have married Nat, rather than opt to be a single mother.
He was peeved at me, for sure, but I didn’t care much one way or another. I mean, just the other week, when I got a bill from the dentist that Nat was supposed to pay, and I approached him, talons on the ready, he informed me that it WAS my job to make sure these sorts of things get done.
It appears that he wants the glory of being called “Dad” without the work involved. School functions, homework, vaccinations, birthday parties: those are all “my realm,” not his. He’s nothing more than a glorified babysitter with a meaningless title.
(an aside: when I got pregnant with Alex, I sat down with Ben and explained that although Ben calls my husband “The Daver,” the new baby would call him “Daddy.” Ben then decided to call Dave, “Daddy Dave” as a compromise. That lasted until Nat found out and informed Ben that Dave was NOT his father, HE was, and that he should not call Dave anything other than Dave. Ben, being unable to think to rebel against this, hasn’t thought to call Dave anything other than his name since. I have a feeling that if Nat could have pissed on Ben to mark his territory, he would have.)
While I am a decidedly Holiday Person, Nat is not. I spent many pregnant months making Ben a stocking, I’ve always carefully selected stocking stuffers and gifts for him, I’ve insisted that we get a tree and have Ben help decorate it, I am painstakingly planning (and hosting) Christmas Eve for our families, this is what I do around the holidays.
Nat and his family (who I honestly adore. I think half of the reason I stayed with Nat as long as I did was because I love his parents. They’re physicists, who are my favorite sorts of people in the world, and they’re hilarious) are not from this country, and although they do celebrate Christmas, he and his siblings never were allowed to believe in Santa Claus. His mother (Ben’s grandmother) was too distraught when she learned that Santa wasn’t real, so she decided not to tell her children about it.
While I have absolutely no problem with this: I mean, it DOES feel a little odd to have to make up elaborate answers to these questions about where Santa lives, what his reindeer eat, what he does in his off time, I can’t get behind not doing it for my own children.
I guess I feel like childhood is a fleeting time of innocence and wonder, and I would hate to have to introduce my children to what the world can be like any earlier than I have to (no, I don’t home school them. Nor would I. You can start breathing again.). Believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy is something you can never go back and decide to do again once you know the truth.
So when I told Nat that I was taking Ben tomorrow to Breakfast with Santa, he expressed that he didn’t think Ben should “believe in that crap.” I had been hearing this from him on and off for several years now, so it didn’t take me by surprise. But it’s just another reminder to me of the vast divide between Us and Him. Dave may not be pissing his pants with excitement over this (or anything. He’s not that kind of guy. Lucky for him, Ben and I are exuberant enough to make up for it), but he’s certainly looking forward to it, just as we all are.
I know full well that someday Ben will come home from a night with his father and tell me that Santa Claus isn’t real, and I suppose that my only real hope is that he won’t tell his brother about it.
How did you feel when you found out Santa wasn’t real? Were you crushed? Or did you already kind of know and therefore remain unsurprised (as a child, this was where I fell)? Do you think it’s a bad thing to allow kids to believe in these fictitious beings?