When I was 10, we moved from Iowa to Missouri. It was a huge change for my brother and I—we left all of our friends and childhood memories in behind. We had to grow up quickly and make new friends, which wasn’t always easy for us.
We got a puppy after we moved, which made things better, but there were things even a wet, sloppy kiss couldn’t fix.
That Christmas, Jake still believed in Santa, and I didn’t. But my parents made me believe again, in a way. They helped bring the magic back to Christmas.
When we woke up at our grandma’s on Christmas morning, the cookies and milk we had left for Santa were gone, and instead of crumbs, he left a letter for us on my dad’s computer. He told us that even though we had moved, and weren’t at home for Christmas, he was still able to find us. He also said that because we were such good sports about moving, and were making the best of it, that he left us a special present, and that it was outside.
In the snow in my grandma’s backyard was a large bell, which Santa said came from his sleigh. It was just like in the book, and now movie, The Polar Express—before visiting the North Pole, the little boy was skeptical about Santa, but he made him believe again by giving him the First Gift of Christmas, which just happened to be a bell from his sleigh. It would only ring for those who truly believed in him, and years later, the boy could still hear the tinkle of the bell.
Since that Christmas, we’ve hung the bell up along with the other decorations.
I don’t even know if Jake remembers that Christmas, but it’s something I will always cherish.
And even though I know Santa isn’t “real,” a part of me will always believe in him.