Little beads of sweat formed around my hairline as I stared at him from my computer desk. I couldn’t think of a thing to say.

Connor shifted back and forth with his face a little red.

“Mom, my friend had THE TALK with me today,” he finally blurted out. “I just wanted you to know.”

Little beads of sweat formed around my hairline as I stared at him from my computer desk. I couldn’t think of a thing to say.

“The talk?” I squeaked out.

“Yeah. You know…the talk. Is Logan around?” As he looked around the room, I wanted desperately to crawl away and tell his Dad to slide into my place. “Mom, I know Santa isn’t real.”

Oh. That talk. Whew.

After I picked myself up off the floor, we discussed how he felt about the fact that Santa Claus doesn’t live in the North Pole or fly around the world every Christmas Eve night. And after years of worry that this was going to scar him for life, I discovered his heart isn’t broken at all.

Mine wasn’t either when I found out.

Peeking through the knotted spindles on the staircase, I was as quiet as could be.

White curls swung around his belt as he went to work underneath the tree. I was absolutely terrified he would see me. Then again—if he already knew I was awake, and whether I was being bad or good, he also must know I was watching him from the third stair.

Plus, that kid on the Coke commercial tapped him on the shoulder, and then kicked back on the couch with him and drank a cold one.

But I was still afraid I would somehow disappoint him.

All year long, grown-ups used him as a threat for misbehaving. So, by the time I forced a smile in in the lap of some bearded guy at Walmart while my mom snapped a Polaroid, I was straight up terrified of old Saint Nick.

Yet, I still worried. Maybe he saw me kick my brother (even though totally deserved it), and he decided not to land on my rooftop. And I didn’t even have a chimney, so I worried about that too.

I know he’s magical, but can he really parallel park a sleigh? I can’t even make a space in front of the post office with my Jeep on a Tuesday afternoon.

Honestly, I don’t know why it mattered to me; Santa Claus gave me crappy toys every single year. The tag on my She-Ra castle, Rainbow Brite’s Starlight Horse, and my Barbie dream house boldly read from Mom and Dad—while Santa gave me a play mop and bucket. 

And looking back, I think it was just an actual mop and bucket with a bottle of lemon scented Pine-sol. So when I found out later that the bearded guy in living room was just Grandpa with some bells and a trash bag, I was fine.

It’s different with our kids, though.

Unlike my mom, Shawn wants to give him credit for all the good gifts. From the V-tech toddler toys to their Play Station and tablets, Santa’s gifts are always favored over the annual packs of underwear that come from us.

Plus, kids are more connected to Santa than ever.

Just like everything else these days, technology has changed the way kids interact with Santa Claus. They Skype with him, get personalized messages, and even track him with a live sleigh cam as he lands on snowy rooftops on Christmas Eve.

Once he hit South America, I used to send Connor and Logan to bed. As far as they knew, Ecuador was as far away as Palmyra, until Connor started studying geography.

It worried me that Connor felt betrayed to learn those Christmas Eve cookies we baked were really for Dad to sneak downstairs and eat, and the apple we left for Rudolph went straight back into the bag.

He doesn’t feel that way, though. Instead he is excited to be part of the secret for Logan, although sometimes I think he is using it for his own benefit.

“You know Logan, I bet Santa would be really impressed if you gave me that play station remote.”

So, Connor got through the first talk just fine, and as for any other talks, I suppose we better get to him before his friends do.  

Meg Duncan has lived on the same corner in Hannibal for most of her thirty-something years. Raising two boys and one husband, she writes about real life because it is far better than fiction. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.