Why I Lie To My Kids About Santa
If you didn't think about the reason for it, the sight was impressive: a police helicopter, hovering in the canyon behind my house, rotor blades whirring below rooftop level, just hanging there. It would move a few yards every few minutes. They were looking for someone, and the initial thought was that this was a rescue mission - maybe someone had wandered off the trail and tripped over a hidden rock and sprained an ankle, or perhaps one of the neighborhood kids had gone on a bike ride and had taken a tumble. But no. Below, the police cars sat in the small trailhead parking lot, a few officers milling about. There were no lights, no sirens, no real sense of urgency. Later, I'd see the news: a woman who lived in the townhouses just down the street had gone missing on Thanksgiving morning. Foul play was suspected, and later confirmed: Kathleen Cary Scharbarth had been murdered by her ex-boyfriend, in her home, which is a five minute walk from ours. Lucas had seen the helicopter as well. He asked why it was flying around our house. I told him that sometimes the police practice looking for people who may have gotten lost.
I came across this comment, in a blog post about telling your kids the truth about Santa:
"We had a lockdown drill today." "Oh, yeah?" "Yeah. It was pretty exciting." Last October, I was working in the home office when the Tweets started rolling in, the words "gunman" and "shooting" and "Carlsbad elementary school" leaping off the screen. A man had calmly driven up to the campus of Kelly Elementary School with a .357 Magnum and a can of propane; he opened fire on the kids, and hit two of them before being wrestled to the ground by some construction workers. The gun, you see, wasn't enough; he was going to use that propane to blow up as much of the school as he could. It occured to me, much later, that Lucas and I might have heard the explosion from our desks. It also occured to me that he's a much older seven year old than I ever was. "Well", I said, "those lockdown drills are important."
"Dad, do you believe in Santa?" I didn't hesitate.
"Sure. Why not?"