Yesterday in the car my four-year-old daughter said to me "Daddy, I've been talking to the Easter Bunny, and he thinks you and Mommy are Santa." All I could think to say in reply was "Why on earth would the Easter Bunny tell you a thing like that?"
Anyway, thinking back on it, I can't remember a time when I actually believed in Santa Claus. Maybe I did at some point, but the earliest thing I can remember thinking about Santa was that it was a cute story that I should play along with because it made my parents happy. Actually, that's going too far. I certainly enjoyed playing along too. And maybe there was a part of me that wanted to believe. Maybe there was even the tiniest part of me that did believe. Maybe.
I remember one year my Dad climbed up on the roof of the our house on Christmas Eve and stomped around and shook some sleigh bells while my brother and I were in bed. I didn't for a second believe Santa and a bunch of flying reindeer had landed on our roof. On the other hand, the fact that I knew it was my Dad didn't make it any less exciting for me. I was practically peeing in my pajamas in anticipation of the next morning. And I only loved my Dad more for going to such extraordinary lengths to preserve such a fantastic fiction. And even though I knew the "truth," I never felt like I was being "lied" to either.
Despite my premature skepticism, or perhaps because of it, I insisted that I really did believe in Santa until a much older age than most kids. I remember coming home from school and saying things like "some of the kids say they're no such thing as Santa, but I know they're wrong." To this day I don't think I've once told my parents I don't believe in Santa Claus, and if they asked me tomorrow, I'd probably still tell them I did. Maybe that's because I still want to believe. Or maybe it's because there is some tiny little part of me that still does. Maybe.