Incidentally, the Christmas that The Sisda found out that Santa was a big ruse orchestrated by the parents every year was the exact same Christmas I realized I had been deceived.
It was not, as my father suggested, the Year of the Barbie House. It had been his job to put together that blasted Barbie House. And what you must understand about The Bob is that in order for anything to work, for anything to come together as planned, that thing must be persuaded. It must be talked to, as we say in the Buckley house. Apparently that particular Christmas, The Barbie House was not cooperating and The Bob was unable to give it a proper cursing because it was in the middle of the night, he was squished in the hallway, and I refused to sleep with my door closed. So while my father is breaking a sweat over the stupidpieceofcrapdollhousewhomadethisjunk, my mother is shushing him. He might wake me! He might ruin Christmas for me FOREVER. So, he's laboring under the weight of ruining my life pretty much. For all the fuss he made and all the talking to he had to give that house under his breath, The Bob was victorious. The Barbie House was intact and I was still full of faith in the Fat Guy. Also, I wore adorable Christmas nightgowns with stupid hats: see evidence above.
It's funny that a bike crushed my dreams of Santa for me. Because it wasn't the first bike that ruined everything. The first bike was also the Year of the Jeep. Yeah, one of those miniature motor-powered red Jeeps that my cousin Danny and I rode the crap out of up and down my grandmother's driveway. It wasn't just any Jeep either. It was like, Turbo Charged. Also, it was our police vehicle. We caught bad guys in that thing. Then, after we caught the bad guy, we decided what his punishment would be based on his crime. His options were: hanging, electrocution, and firing squad. Anyway, I think the fact that the Jeep overshadowed the bike probably kept my eyes off the wheels, which were white and would have hidden any gravel driveway dust quite well. So, the Year of the Jeep, my Belief in Santa Meter was 110% full. Because, how can you not love a guy who gives you a Jeep for Christmas? And a new Huffy bike. And a fabulous Minnie Mouse sleeping bag. Really, I ask you. (And yes, same nightgown, same bangs, shorter hair, bigger teeth.)
Also, my Santa Meter was full up because of the way Santa's Presents were never wrapped. Because, hello? Santa has to travel the entire planet and give everyone gifts. Who has time to wrap that many presents? That's how I always knew Santa was the real deal. He didn't mess with gift wrapping and handwriting. He set up all my gifts on the right side of the tree, Price is Right style so you could see a little bit of everything. And then Holly's presents would be arranged on the left side of the tree. Clearly, Santa knew us. And clearly he cared enough to construct a present mountain for each of us. But wrapping? Labelling? What a waste. Gifts from your parents and your family came in boxes, paper, and bags. Santa's gifts? They were awesome as is.
Because I had fallen asleep while Holly lurked, spying on the Mumsie and her bathrobed behind, I woke up Christmas morning full of joy, hope, and belief. But this year, my bike was the main attraction. It was a 10-speed. It was purple with hot pink accents. It was everything I dreamed of. Except the tires were black.
And ladies and gentlemen, there was driveway dust on the black tires. How? Is? This? Possible? I thought about it and thought about it and smiled for pictures with my new bike and my same ol' bedhead bangs. I was thrilled to have the bike, but this did not seem like Santa. It smelled a bit funny, if you know what I mean. Because Santa delivered this bike directly into my living room, just like he delivered everything else. And he came in through the chimney, obviously. (Which was always a miracle because we have a wood-burning stove instead of a real fireplace and we kept the door closed. But Santa was a freaking miracle anyway, so who needs to bother with tiny details like that?) However, driveway dust is NOT miraculous. In any way. It meant that my bike had been in the driveway, which defies flying sleighs. And that's when I knew. I knew that Santa wasn't real. This bike's delivery was not magic enough. It was all a hoax.
And it was a freaking awesome hoax that I would milk for years to come. Because, I had a younger sister, who unbeknownst to me had already found out the same truth I had. But neither of us told each other. And so the Santa ruse continued. Until we were like 20. Obviously, we knew it wasn't Santa. And my parents knew that we knew it wasn't Santa. But it was tradition. And Santa presents should not be wrapped. So every year, when we woke up and drug ourselves into the living room, there on either side of the Christmas tree were our Santa Presents. Beautifully arranged and set just so. The year my mom tried to do away with Santa altogether, there was an uprising, an enormous protest from my sister and me.
I'm not sure what's happening this year at the Homestead. Haven't been home for Christmas in a while. This year, I'm spending Christmas in Jeju with Kenny. But maybe next year, we'll be in the log cabin on Poplarwood. And maybe, just maybe, Santa will show up. Because sometimes, even after you don't believe, he just keeps on coming.