When I was a little girl I was number five of six children. The idea of Santa was a beautiful thing. He was like a rich uncle that didn’t have time to stay for dinner but he brought some great gifts for us to let us know he was thinking of us. I loved my rich uncle Santa that I didn’t have to talk to. My brother #3, we will call him, was four years older than me. I was home sick *legitimately sick, from school and my brother also caught *cough cough, what I had and stayed home with me. My mother had to go to work so my older brother being home was free babysitting for her.

I’m sick in bed with tissues shoved under my pillow, because I was gross *I don’t do this anymore, and laying in bed trying to breathe! My older brother who is home sick *illegitimately so, comes in with his Cheshire Cat grin and asks me “Do you want to help me with something?”

I, being me, always wants to help people say yes before finding out what it was. I get out of bed wearing my Holly Hobby nightgown and my brother says “Whoa! You’re going to need pants for this!”

I still don’t ask what’s up, because be fucking cool will ya Becki, he wants to play with ya!

I get pants on and follow him up to the haunted room of our house! Why is it haunted it’s a long story but mostly because it has the fucking attic in it. I venture in behind him and then into the very haunted closet! I’m still agreeable and slightly terrified. This closet always smelled like pine and model paint. I am standing behind my brother, whom I admired so much. He was kind to me and he always protected me. He treated me like I was there! So naturally I would follow his lead anywhere! *this has led me to some very interesting places, I never learned my lesson. I am standing behind him and he turns to me and says “I’m going to hoist you up and you’re going to go in the attic.”

What did he just say? Does he know the actual devil lives up there?

“I can’t!” I say

“Why not?”

“Because the devil lives up there!”

He gives me this look that I can only describe as the “Becki look” because I’ve only seen people give it to me. It’s a I’m totally amused by you, and baffled, and also what the actual fuck are talking about? Look!

“What?”

“The devil lives up there. So I am not going!”

“Becki, the devil doesn’t live in our attic, he lives in hell!”

“Where is Hell?” I ask

“I don’t know but it’s not in our attic!”

“How do you know?” I ask

“Because I’ve been up there!”

“And?” I ask

“And it’s just an attic!”

“Where the devil lives!” I say “our attic is where the devil lives and I’m not going up there?”

“Becki you are being ridiculous. The devil does not live in our attic!”

“Well maybe he vacations there!” I always with a logical explanation

“You think he comes to our attic for vacation?”

“It’s probably nice because it’s better than hell.” I say

“It’s not!” My brother replies

Apparently I lost the argument and am now being hoisted into the devil’s vacation home in our attic! I get up there and it’s dark and hard to see.

“Do you see a bag full of Christmas presents?” He asks

“Yeah!” I say back.

“Get it and lower it down to me gently!” He says

I reach out to grab the bag certain that the devil is going to grab my arm and pull me into the dark abyss. I snag the bag quickly and drop the fucking thing because this is a trap and I know it! The sneaky bastard is just trying to tempt me into his lair and I am going to be trapped up here forever.

“Hey, I said gently some of the things I asked for is breakable!” My brother scolds me.

I don’t fucking care because I am running from satan himself and I jump down on top of my brother.

“Holy shit Becki, you almost broke my neck what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m running from the devil before he grabs me!”

“You’re such a weird little kid!” He laughs and then he looks at something and he looks a little alarmed. “Becki do you believe in Santa Claus?”

“Yes! Why?” I ask hesitantly

“Because he’s not real!”

“Santa’s not real?” I ask with a lump in my throat

“No! It’s just mom and dad getting us things and signing his name. Santa is pretend and mom and dad are lying to us!”

I stand there looking at him with disbelief in my eyes! He then picks up a present and shows it to me. I nod my head and then wonder where this day is taking me!

“We are now going to snoop!” #3 says “Snooping is the best part of Christmas!”

“I don’t want to snoop!” I say quietly to my super cool brother “I like to be surprised”

“Surprise, there is no Santa! Now you can snoop with me!” He then puts his hand on my shoulder and looks me straight in the eyes and says “you are going to be the best snooping partner I can tell.” I am so complimented by this because in my family I’m not the best anything. I want to be the best something. I am going to work extra hard at being the best snooping partner ever!

“Go grab me an exacto knife and be careful they are very sharp! #2 keeps them in his model kit.” I go over and find the exacto knife and I bring it to my brother.

“Now when you are carrying a sharp knife to someone you turn it around so you don’t accidentally stab them with it.” He carefully takes it from me by the handle and shows me the proper way to hand someone a knife! I was so happy to be learning from my big brother. I was all ears and big doe eyes soaking in all the criminal ways of my brother. *he wasn’t really a criminal he just had a sneaky way about him. He definitely had the finesse to go into petty crime if he so chose!

He, with surgical precision, sliced the tape and unwraps the gifts. He looks at all of his gifts and then he looks through what the other boys got and he switches some of the tags so that he gets the best stuff. Then he looks at me and says “Mom never remembers what she got. Plus those guys do the same thing.” *this is why mothers get Dementia it’s from thinking we know what’s going on and then turns out name tag swapping on gifts is a thing!

We rewrap the gifts and then he says “Do you want to see what you got?”

I shake my head no!

“You sure? You could switch the names if #4 got something better than you?” #4 is my only sister.

I shake my head no again.

“Alright! It probably is why you make the best snooping partner!” He gets all the gifts back into the bag and he says “Now I’m going to hoist you back up there to put the bag back!

FUCK! The devil is going to be waiting for me this time for sure! I bravely take the bag up and I try to put it where I found it or I just dump it and run. Either way the bag of gifts is back in the devil’s pit and I can go rest! I am sweating because of the excitement or the fever and I go back to bed.

A few years later my mom tells me “Becki I need to tell you something!” She’s a little concerned because I still believe in Santa and I never questioned his existence like a normal kid would. “Honey, Santa isn’t real. I buy and wrap the gifts and I just say they are from Santa!”

Now I can’t say ‘No shit Sherlock!’ Which was a popular phrase then. I have been the best snooping partner since 1976. How do I play it cool. I pretend to burst into tears and ran to my room. Because I’m not sure how a normal kid would react to being told there was no Santa at the age of thirteen.

My family joked and picked on me for years about this. “Remember when I told Becki there was no Santa and she ran away crying?” *laughter ensues at my expense, which I was used to. I look at my brother #3 and he is smirking and no one was the wiser because I was the ABSOLUTE BEST SNOOPING PARTNER AROUND!

Finally well into my forties I got tired of being a mockery for my family and I said “I knew!”

“What dear?”

“I knew that there was no Santa! I had known since I was in first grade.”

“No you didn’t! You cried so hard when I told you”

“I was pretending because #3 told me that I couldn’t let on that I knew. That’s why I never questioned it.”

“Why did he tell you?”

“Because I was the Best Snooping partner around! I now think it’s safe to let you know because we are adults and no one can get into trouble.”

Moral of my story: If you have a child who still believes in Santa and doesn’t question it, don’t pick on them. They just might know something you don’t! Also I still, to this day, think the devil vacations in that attic. So it is fair to think that I still believed in Santa! Also my big brother #3 was always my hero and probably always will be. He and I got into some great trouble together and they were some of my fondest memories. Happy Holidays!

Until next time!😉

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