When I was a little girl, Miracle on 34th Street was one of my favorite Christmas movies.
My parents could never get me to believe in Santa Claus. (I was very much like little Susan Walker that way.)
My mom told me (more than once), when I lamented about not having blond hair and blue eyes like all the other little girls wanted, that Natalie Wood (who played Susan in the movie) grew up to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, with her dark hair and brown eyes, like mine.
Not long before I became a mom, I was touched by the scene in which Kris Kringle asks Susan if her mother ever sang to her. Susan says no–in that matter-of-fact way of hers–and I saw, in Kris’s merry eyes, how unfortunate that was.
Twas then I realized that I would always sing to my children.
When Susan blows off a game in which the other children in her apartment complex are pretending to be animals in a zoo, calling it silly, with Kris telling her it sounds like fun, I realized that fun is an essential part of childhood.
I was never much for pretending when I was a kid (I just drew my stories until I was old enough to write them), but I chose to nurture that in my child.
I chose, and am choosing still, to give my daughter that magical childhood, for there is time enough to be an adult with all the baggage that comes with it.
Maybe through writing my stories, I am pretending still.
Even though I never believed in Santa Claus (too many jerky kids got on the nice list), I fell in love with the idea of him, for I believe that we can all play Santa Claus–not to all the children of the world necessarily, but to our own, if no one else.