It’s Simple

by jkatejohnston

23 December 2013

Dear Max,

On Saturday when we were driving to the pool, we drove by a house with a nativity scene in the front yard. Enzo said, “How come there’s so much Jesus stuff around?” And then answered along with me, “Because Christmas is Jesus’s birthday.” Then he added, “So Santa must be the form as Jesus.”

“Actually Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas. Saints are different from Jesus.”

“I thought Saints were like, The Saints.”

“Well, they call the team The Saints because they’re from New Orleans, and they have a famous song that they sing there. [I sing When the Saints Go Marching In.] So the team is named after the song. Real saints are just, like, really good people.”

“Like Barack Obama?”

“They’re usually more like old time people.”

“George Washington.”

“Well, like Saint Francis was a guy way back in the day and he gave away all his money and had nothing. He gave it away to poor people.”

“No way. No way I’m gonna give my money to a bunch of poor people.”

By this time we are in the parking lot at the Y and I am taking my notes. He gets out of his car seat and into the front. Seat reclined, feet on the dashboard.

“Did you say Santa Claus is the form of Jesus?”


“So what does form mean?”

“You know. A ghost has a form of a dead person. You have a form.”

“I do?”

“Your spirit goes into you and picks you as its form.”

“How do you know all this?”

“I just learned it. It’s simple.”


More notes from my phone. (If I’m away from home I text myself.)

I finished work early on Thursday so I picked Enzo up from school. He stays after and plays with friends for about an hour. It’s like their extra recess, and recess is his life. Anyway, they were all playing, and then Enzo went off by himself and sat with his back against a low wall. I walked over there. “How’s it going?”

“Mom, can you write it in your diary that when I grow up I will be a paleontologist. And an angler. And a croc hunter.” I wrote it in my phone and he jumped up and ran off with the other boys. A few minutes later, a bunch of the boys were crowded together in a sort of in a huddle.

Boy #1: “No! No! You have to kill us.”

Boy #2: “We do kill you. With chain saws.” Then a consensus seemed to form and several of the boys shouted, “Zombie Invasion!”

The next day was the last day of school before Christmas vacation. Enzo gave us the crafts he’s been working on: a rock covered with blue and green felted wool, a woolen fish, two halves sewn together and filled with lavender. And have I mentioned that Enzo goes to bed every night with the wooden sword he made at school? So you see they do meet them halfway in the violence department.