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Grateful for Grandkids

The First Step of Transition

Have you ever wondered at what point in time we make the transition from the innocence of childhood to reality of being an adult? Some might say it is when we turn 21 years of age; others might argue that it is 18 years of age; still many would submit that adulthood is more of a physical process that occurs with the onset of puberty. My wife would offer that some people such as myself have never grown up in some aspects of our lives. All who have opinions on the matter could be brilliant advocates for their positions, but I offer a more simple answer to the beginning of the process of transition from the wonder of childhood to the cold reality of adulthood.

My daughter Dodi recently shared with me a conversation she had with my granddaughter Rachel that will forever be remembered by Rachel as a memorable day in her life.

Rachel and Dodi were sharing one of those rare “mother/daughter” moments of being alone in a household of five where the majority rests with the male gender. Rachel was speaking of her frustration with some of the “older kids” on the school bus (those of us who have ridden school buses can relate much of our early education to moments such as these with the “older kids”).

Rachel: “I’m just so mad at those kids. They are trying to tell me there is no such thing as Santa Claus and I tell them “is to”. They say that moms and dads hide the stuff in the closets and get up late at night and put the toys under the Christmas tree. I told them my mom and dad would never get up late at night. Why are they telling us this stuff, I’m right aren’t I mommy?”

At this point Dodi knew she was at that critical point where you decide whether truth and reality or fantasy will in the future prevail. Dodi spoke after a long pause and a couple of deep breaths: “Well, Rachel, do you want me to tell you?”

Rachel now has suddenly gone quiet and very thoughtful: “No, I don’t want you to tell me.” Now the quietness deepened and Rachel began to squirm in her chair. She cocked her head to one side and flipped her long blond hair in the way only a precocious eight year old who is very sure of herself could do. “I’ll just tell them tomorrow that they were wrong” she asserted with a conjured up air of authority. More silence ensued and finally Dodi quietly said again “Rachel, do you want me to tell you?”

Rachel didn’t answer but instead stared at the homework that lay in front of her that she was attempting to complete, only her pen didn’t move. Oh, if we could only have been witness to the multitude of deep and confusing thoughts that were running rampant in her little head. Finally after what seemed to Dodi like an eternity Rachel said, “They are telling the truth aren’t they? You never would have asked me twice if they weren’t telling the truth, I know you.” The noise of her two younger brothers who were playing upstairs faded into the background and only a deafening silence ensued. Attempting to give words of comfort, Dodi said, “Rachel, I would never lie to you”. Rachel didn’t raise her head but continued to stare at her papers. “Rachel, do you remember the indoor basketball game that Santa gave the boys last year? It took your daddy and me 4 hours in the middle of the night to put that together hoping all the time that your younger brothers wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night and wander around the house like they have a habit of doing. Yes Rachel, mommy and daddy are Santa Clause”. Rachel lifted her head and grinned, “You were really lucky that Austin didn’t catch you. You mean mommy that you and daddy gave me my bicycle last year and the other toys I got? Wow, you guys were really busy and that cost a lot of money.” At that point Dodi heaved a sigh of relief realizing that the path Rachel could have taken might have been one of distress but instead she found humor in her parents wandering around in a cloak of secrecy on Christmas Eve. Dodi said “Rachel, Grandma and Grandpa were Santa for your uncle Eric and me just like mommies and daddies have been for their children for a long time. Now don’t ruin it for your brothers. They still believe there is a Santa Clause and we want them to enjoy it just as you have for as long as they can don’t we?” Suddenly the realization came over Rachel that she knew something her brothers didn’t and she swelled with pride, assumed an air of mature superiority and said “You’re right mom; we want to keep our secret don’t we? We’ll just let the younger kids keep believing”.

Rachel and Dodi shared a few light moments together laughing about how they were going to keep the “secret” from her two younger brothers. Dodi related stories of her childhood, trying to catch Santa, leaving cookies, treats and one time even an anchovy pizza for Santa. Suddenly one of Rachel’s brothers hurdled himself down the stairs and arrived on the scene with a melee of activity. “It’s okay mom, I won’t say anything.” Rachel said and she winked at her mom the wink of a knowing mature eight year old, struggling to get one eye to close in a wink while keeping the other open. As she left with her brother to play, she paused at the foot of the stairs, turning slowly to Dodi and asked, “Is there an Easter bunny”?

Rachel will never be the same. She will now forever look at the world with a small sense of skepticism. But, as they say, that is just part of due process.


  • Spend some time with a child. Instead of expecting them to act like the little adults that fit your portrait of the world, see the world of marvel through their eyes. Treasure the small things in life whether you are with a toddler or an octogenarian. You never know when what you believe to be the reality of your world will be dispelled as a fantasy.

Love someone.

Be thankful that God gave us children to learn from.