Thursday, December 12, 2013

I resisted this guy. It seemed like just one more thing to buy and to remember to do each night before bed. I resisted for so long I thought all three of my children had outgrown something like this.

I was wrong.

This year Livvy, who is almost nine, has talked about an elf on our own shelf every single day. Many of her friends have elves who appeared soon after Thanksgiving. She never whined; she simply looked sad each morning when she came downstairs. She talked with a friend from school (whose elf also hadn't made an appearance), and they decided maybe the elf didn't come until the tree went up. I knew Livvy was grappling with the whole concept, because every so often she would ask, "But wait, do you buy the elf?"

She is right on the cusp, this girl. She hasn't asked directly whether Santa Claus is real, but there have been so many questions. How does he know what I want if I haven't told him? How does he know you haven't bought me the same present? How would he know how to find us if we went away for Christmas?

I think, in the end, she's not quite ready to stop believing. Which takes us back to the elf. He seems more important to her this year than ever before, so last night, at long last, he arrived. This morning, when Livvy came downstairs, she said, "No elf, right?" And I said, "Liv, we put up the tree last night. Maybe he came. You should look."

And there he was, sitting next to some glasses in the cupboard. Great joy for one almost-nine-year-old. We may not need him again next year, but this year we definitely do.


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