Several years ago, my husband and I planned a surprise trip for our daughters to Costa Rica and we were really excited about it. Especially the surprise part. So were our teenaged daughters (they were 12 and 15), knowing we were taking them some place exotic, but not knowing exactly where. And my husband and I were veeeerrry stealthy, endlessly researching Costa Rica on the internet, sneaking travel brochures into the house, and meticulously planning our itinerary. I was beside myself, mapping out just how long we might keep the destination a secret from the girls––even delighting myself with the realization that we could probably get all the way there before they clued in because the airport signage would all read “Liberia”, which––as brilliant as my daughters are––would probably make them believe we were off to the Middle East or something.
And the girls were just loving the anticipation––brought them right back to the magical days of waiting for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
After weeks of this charade and with a few days to go, the girls were both in their bedrooms doing some prep-packing. And I’m subtly coaching them on what they “might need”.
I remember puttering in the kitchen when suddenly it dawned on me that they absolutely should NOT forget one essential item. So I call up the stairs at the top of my lungs: “Girls, don’t forget to pack your tampons for Costa Rica!!!!!!”
I freeze with horror, praying and wishing they haven’t heard me. Silence from upstairs. Then the low murmur of one daughter to the other, “Did she just say ‘Costa Rica’?” The other daughter, resigned, disappointed, somehow not surprised: “Yup.”
Way to frickin’ wreck it.
|The girls as we arrived in Costa Rica. Looks like they forgave me for my gaffe!|
Deb: My little boy was such an innocent. Do you think it was maybe that we only let him watch Thomas the Tank Engine till he was 12? Well, I can’t worry about that now, can I? That will be for him and his shrink to dissect.
At any rate, I found myself with a 12-year-old who still believed in Santa, and I, being (in my own fevered brain) the keeper of all things Christmas, was elated. One night, scant days before Christmas, I was singing him his goodnight song (Christmas-themed, of course) and he said, “Mom, do Santa’s reindeer really fly?”
I thought, Okay, here we go. I mean he was 12, for Godssake. So I proceeded to tell him the origin of St. Nick, etc. Suddenly, he sat up, eyes wide, tears streaming down his face and shouted, “I didn’t ask if Santa was real! I didn’t ask if Santa was real!”
So there I was broken-hearted, my Elf ears all askew trying to back-peddle my way back to his innocence: “Oh, Luke, I am so, so sorry.” “It’s okay, Mom,” he squeaked out between sobs, “I still love Santa.” I waited till he fell asleep and then I hit the eggnog pretty hard. Then I fell asleep in a nutmeg haze, wishing like Cher that “I could turn back time”.
PS You can still enter to win a trip to Costa Rica on their Facebook page!