I have recently come under criticism for not encouraging my children to believe in Santa Claus. When asked, "Mama, is Santa real?", I would simply respond, "It depends on what you believe." I really didn't see the point in fictitious elaboration, when vague honesty seemed like such a bette alternative.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Every now and again I get a glimpse into the world through the eyes of my children. What I see is so endearing.
Last week, we were watching "This Is It" (the Michael Jackson documentary). My boys have inherited my love of music and dancing, and they were fascinated by the amazing dance moves and groovy beats. Right in the middle of it all, when Michael Jackson (surrounded by back-up dancers) was busting a move like nobody's business, Eamon announced, "Duke is the only man in the whole world who can dance better than these guys." I looked at him, evaluated for a trace of sarcasm, and saw only the most sincere eyes and loving expression. He really truly meant it.
Later that week, I asked Eamon not to pull on the spindles on the second floor landing. I tried to explain that if he pulled too hard, they might break off, and someone might fall. It would be dangerous. He looked at me, dumbfounded and replied, "Well, don't worry Mama, Duke wouldn't get hurt, because he has a parachute." A parachute? Seriously?
While watching the Super Bowl, Liam told me, "These guys are lucky that Duke doesn't play professional football, because he's an amazing quarterback." Wow. Watch out Drew Brees.
If you are in third grade you often weave tall tales to earn the respect of your undeserving peers. Stepdads like Duke become urban legends. I heard Liam telling his friends, "My stepdad can hit a wiffle ball over the roof ... with a shovel." Well, actually he can do that, so it wasn't really a myth or a tale, but definitely a legend. Liam also told me, "It doesn't matter where we are, Duke will always protect us because he is so strong."
The way I see it. My boys have invented their own mythical being. The legend of Duke. Their hero is alive and well. It all depends on what they believe.
And, he has a parachute.