She comes home the other day, saying one friend doesn’t believe in Rudolph and another thinks Santa is really just parents.
She leaves the statements in the air, not wanting confirmation, not wanting, perhaps, to really know.
This is likely it. The last year.
She hops off to play, and I think immediately of the Santa dress she wears when we go get our tree each year.
In 2007, when she was 1, it hung just below her knees and had sleeves that turned into fluffy white cuffs at her wrists. She looked like a cookie elf.
Now, it’s a perfect-sized shirt for a 7 year old — the waist at her hips, the sleeves just above her elbows. You can’t see the back, which has buttons that can no longer be buttoned.
“But I’m not bothered by that,” she says, pausing a beat. “I still like it and promise to wear every year.”
There’s something in her voice, as she thinks at a certain age we will make her stop, instead of pulling the outfit off the shelf and willing it to fit just one more time, one more year — willing the mad genii of innocence to remain for a little longer, for the magic of belief to cloak her imagination and linger over our lives for a few more sweet, sweet years.
The jolly man in a red suit will soon enough retire. Unicorns and wild Pegasi will ground themselves, grazing in unknown forests. Green scales will, indeed, fall like rain. But let this thing fit one more time, let this magic come just one more year.