When I was in grade four I was a lunchroom monitor for a younger class. We had the option to sign up to be lunchroom monitors at the beginning of the year, so a bunch of my friends and I (Sabine, Jennifer, Lindsey, and I—I’m pretty sure, anyway. I have a picture of us somewhere) decided to take advantage of that.
Since there wasn’t a cafeteria in our school each class ate lunch in the classroom at their desks. Our teacher, Mr. Low, stayed in the classroom for the first part of the lunch hour and then would shoo everyone outside to play for the duration so that he could have a bit of a break from us. The benefit of being a lunchroom monitor was that no one shooed you outside.
This was a particularly useful privilege in the cold winter months, unfortunately we moved in December so I didn’t have much opportunity to use that privilege.
I wonder how many people reading this think that volunteer lunchroom monitors is a crazy idea. Andrew, his mom, and I were talking about chalkboards and how Rachel and Miriam will likely never use one in a school classroom. I mentioned how they’d never have the job of taking the chamois and brushes outside to bang out all the chalk dust.
Apparently Andrew had never had that job, either. That’s what I get for being raised a socialist—classroom chores, garbage pick-up day, lunchroom monitor duties, and even the opportunity to be a crosswalk guard (though I never got to do that since I was never in the oldest class in any of my schools).*
Anyway, one cold, blustery day after sending the younger “primary” school children out into the rain, Sabine, Jennifer, Lindsey, and I sat around discussing Santa Claus.
“Do you believe?” someone asked.
It was an awkward conversation. Someone piped up right at the beginning that they did believe. I used to believe but knew at that point that Santa was more of an idea than a person. I never found out what the other two girls believed because either they really did believe in Santa still or they were playing wishy-washy like me, not wanting to be the one to break the bad news.
“I guess I kinda believe,” I started my little white-lie, “I mean, my mom and dad don’t even like staying up late…so…but they might stay up late just on Christmas Eve…I dunno…I don’t think it really matters…I just…ummm…yeah…”
And that’s kind of how our whole conversation went.
I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa, really. I think it was more of a gradual thing. It wasn’t for Josie. I’m not sure she ever believed in Santa since she already knew our parents filled our stockings by age three.
Rachel is two-and-a-half and this is the first year that she’s kind of understanding who Santa is. She still isn’t sure what he does—I’m pretty sure she thinks he chases snowmen and chastises reindeers—since she never mentions anything about what she wants him to get her or when he’s going to fill her stocking.
We are letting her believe as she wishes—it’s part of the magic of Christmas and we’re encouraging fun. I know some parents think of it as lying, but I don’t…and I wasn’t distrustful of my parents when I found out that Santa wasn’t real. I just figured it was one of the many things I believed in that didn’t turn out to be.
Like monsters in my closet.
Or my apparent inability to fly.
Rachel believes in Santa. She believes in crocodiles under her bed. And she believes she will, one day, be able to fly. She told me so.
“Some day, I will FLY!” she said, spreading her
wings arms and nodding her head gravely, “Some day.”
I think preserving those childhood dreams is a healthy thing…as long as she realizes the truth by the time she’s old enough to be a lunchroom monitor, I think she’ll be okay in life!
*Don’t know why I wanted to, either. Freezing cold? Early mornings? The allure must have been in the bright orange vests….