Scott and I kept a fridge in the garage. This was where we hid the soda pop; diet Pepsi, cream soda, root beer, Dr. Pepper... Yum. The sodas didn't stay hidden for long. They were discovered by small, brain-damaged people who don't know how to ask permission or say please. Some of these people even belonged to Julie. Scott grew frustrated when his beloved Pepsi cans were found all over the house and yard, half-full and sticky. I grew frustrated at the cost of replacing the fouled cans with fresh ones. We tried lecturing and punishing the thieves, and they would nod their heads in agreement, apologizing for their thoughtlessness... and promptly repeat the offense. I finally got the brilliant idea to put a sign on the door of the fridge. It was a standard eight inches by twelve inches, colored brightly with markers, bearing theses words. Ask first please.
Zack came to me one afternoon, a perplexed look on his young face. "Mom?"
"I asked the fridge if I could have a soda but it didn't say anything."
What is a mother supposed to say to that? I laughed of course. But was I surprised? Not in the least. This was coming from the absent-minded kid who would take off his underwear and put it in the toilet instead of the dirty clothes hamper. When I would tell him to put on clean underwear in the mornings, he was quite obedient about doing it. He'd just forget to take off the dirty ones first.
Zack is, by far, my most innocent and young-at-heart child. He lives on sugar simply because it tastes good. And how can something that tastes good be bad for you? It takes him seven hours to clean his bedroom because he gets distracted. He declares that "Dad is for fun and Mom is for lovin'." He cries when his hampsters die and when he thinks his sisters hate him.
The winter of his eleventh year, I decided it was time for Zack to know the truth about Santa Clause. I took him into my bedroom and shut the door. I told him it was time for us to have a serious talk.
I think he knew what I was going to say, but he sure didn't want to hear it.
"You know how all the kids at school are saying that Santa isn't real?"
My heart broke a little when I saw his eyes grow misty. "Well, honey, they are right. Dad and I are Santa."
"You mean there's no sleigh and he doesn't slide down the chimney?"
He dropped his head and then lifted his eyes to look at me. He had the saddest smile on his face. I said, "I'm so sorry. I think I just burst a big bubble."
He thumped his fist against his heart and said, "It was a very special bubble."
I sure love that boy.