(Caution: Not all material suited for young children.)
I was nine or ten years old when this picture was taken...
Our family was assigned to the U.S. Naval Communications Station San Miguel.
Yup. We lived in the Philippines...and this would turn out to be a big day.
But I'll get back to that in just a minute.
Several months ago, Sugar began asking questions.
I noticed that her questions were increasing in frequency, so thought it might be time for her and I to have a little chat. She's right smack between 9 and 10 years old.
A lot happens in a girl's life during the next couple years.
So...we spent a night away in a hotel room.
Just the two of us.
I wanted her to feel comfortable.
I didn't want her to worry about being interrupted or embarrassed
by having little sisters and her dad around.
We shared some gluten-free chocolate cake, and watched a movie.
We talked about school and friends and homework.
Then we read through some parts of a little book together.
We went to breakfast the next morning, and even ran into
another T1 pumper in the lobby!
Back to that picture.
Anyway, like I said, I was nine or ten there.
(Just about the same age that Sugar is now.)
On that day, our family was going to have Breakfast With Santa!
I waited my turn patiently.
There were butterflies in my stomach.
I worried for a minute that I wouldn't make the Nice List.
(I was hoping for a dollhouse.)
And then I saw it.
Why would Santa be wearing my father's college ring?
I looked him straight in the eye.
By then my mother frantically pulled me off his lap, and hurried me out to the parking lot.
I was crying...sobbing, in fact.
My mother was trying her best to console me without creating more of a scene.
She gently told me the truth about Santa.
I was shocked, numb, and disappointed.
But I pulled myself together, went back inside, and played along...
didn't want to ruin the fun for all the other kids.
By now I'm sure you're wondering how, on earth, these two stories
could possibly intertwine.
And I'm about to tell you.
During our night away, I wanted to impress on Sugar that she could always
come to me with questions and trust that she would get answers she could depend on.
"The world is going to tell you many things about your body. You may see things on TV or hear people talk about things you don't understand. I want you to know that you can ALWAYS come to me, and I will ALWAYS tell you the truth. You never need to worry or wonder about anything you may feel confused about."
With that, we started packing up our suitcase.
About ten minutes went by...
"Mommy? You said I could ask you anything, and you'll tell me the truth."
"Is Santa real?"