Sarasota, FL- It is bad enough our parents know what Facebook is. It is even worse that they have befriended us and have the rare access to our public internet Facebook life. Their presence means only two things- posting embarrassing comments to our photos and postings and/or them posting embarrassing photos of themselves in a public or private space.
Billy, 25, has been friends with his Dad on Facebook for more than four years now and he has unfollowed his Dad’s post feed a long time ago. “He uses humor that is very typical for his generation, you know. The pictures he takes and the ideas he shares are from Ronald Reagan times and well, he loves the Three Stooges type of humor, you know, the one with physical farce and slapstick and I just find that incredibly dumb. All the old people he knows find it hilarious but I just can’t get myself to like any of it.”
Billy does try sometimes to like his Dad’s photos. “Well, I don’t want to be the son that doesn’t like anything on his Dad’s Facebook. Just the other day I liked his ZOO photos. He went there and took selfies with the giraffes and found it hilarious when monkeys were doing it in front of him and posted a bunch of photos of it. Like, it’s not that funny but I love him anyway. So I “liked” the album but I won’t “like” anything for a while.”
I hear loud arguing between Anna and Tim. We were given a recess, but instead a horrible fight broke out and everyone stayed inside. As I came closer, I could hear what the arguing was about. Anna was determined: “I know what I saw. It was my Mom who put the gifts underneath the Christmas tree. Not Santa! That’s because Santa doesn’t exist!” My heart stopped. My belly jolted. “You’re lying,” Tim accused her. “No, I’m not!” she cried. I was in shock. My developing brain was struggling to comprehend what had just been said. How could Santa not be real? I’ve been writing him letters for years! He’s been bringing me gifts each year; with Rudolph leading the way to my house. Why would my parents tell me about Santa if he wasn’t real? Why would my parents lie to me?
To this day I am hurt by the lies my parents told me about Santa. Why does it matter, you ask? It matters because despite the joy it brought me, it also brought me horrible devastation. For a young kid like myself, who spent hours reading and imagining different worlds, the non-existence of Santa was like a slap in my face. I could not believe people I trusted put on a charade, a show for Christmas. They made me write letters… they made me put cookies down for him. They made me believe he was real.
I do not have children of my own just yet, but I still struggle whether or not I should lie to them about Santa too. It gets even more problematic if I tell them from the start that Santa does not exist. Then, other parents will complain that my children ruined Santa for their children.
I don’t know why this lie has to continue. I know children are happy to hear it, but when you realize your parents lied to you and that it was them the whole time…. well, it kind of shows that even those you trusted lied to you. So, on the flip side, is Santa actually supposed to be a life lesson? As in, do not count on those you trust because they are not trustworthy either?