"Is Santa Real"? It’s the moment we as parents dread.
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I can remember the exact moment, The Teenager, asked me that very question.
It was 5 years ago, she was 12, Mr DG was brushing his teeth and I was in the shower, see, I told you I could remember. The morning was going quite well until Mr DG suddenly realised that we had forgotten to give the Tooth Fairy a hand by subbing her £2 to go under The Whirlwinds pillow the previous night.
"OH CRAP", he exclaimed rather loudly, realising his mistake. "Quick" I replied, "Do it now, they are both still asleep"
The door burst open and in child number 1 (who had all her big teeth I might add, so it really wasn't any of her business) came.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHOVE IT UNDER THERE NOW?" "ISN'T THE TOOTH FAIRY REAL"?
It was at this point we both pretended we hadn't heard her and carried on with our ablutions.
"Mum! Dad! Isn't the Tooth Fairy Real?" a little voice said.
I cannot begin to tell you how awful I felt, as I watched her little eyes fill with sadness. To be fair I was super impressed that we got all the way to 12 without any suspicion. Then, before I had time to answer, the dreaded question plopped out of her mouth, the one where you are never quite prepared
"Does that mean Santa isn't real either?"
There it was.
Those words, like a knife to the heart..
This is it. Choose your words carefully, Mummy.
I sat her down away from child number 2 who was luckily, oblivious to the whole fiasco and looked her square in the eyes.
"OK, here's the thing....." I began.
"Who wants cake for breakfast?!" Mr DG chipped in with, hoping to avoid any confrontation.
"ME, ME, ME" screamed child 2
"Nobody is having cake for breakfast" I scolded
"Right" I began again, as child number 2 ran down the kitchen to see if he really could have cake for breakfast.
This is the speech that I gave her pretty much word for word
"Now that you are such a big girl there will be a lot of people that will tell you that Santa isn't real and that it is babyish to believe in him. I have never seen him but I know that on Christmas Eve something magical happens and a kind of calm, blankets the whole world. People laugh and even the saddest of people can’t help but smile on Christmas Eve. I don't care what people think, as I believe in the magic of Christmas and I know that something is definitely different on that day. If you don't want to think that Santa and all his traditions are real, then that's fine but I will never stop believing. Some day you will have your own children and I hope that all the fun things Daddy and I have done over those special days will stay with you and you too will carry on the magical things that happen."
I had tears in my eyes as I looked at my little girls innocence slipping away, right in front of me, I truly believed everything I had told her and hoped in my heart that she would too.
"Thank God for that" was her reply
"I don't have to worry about some fat bloke breaking into our house anymore" she concluded.
And with that she kissed me on the top of the head before whispering
"Don't worry, I won’t tell" with a wink and a swish of her dressing gown, she was off down the stairs.
I sat there stunned, not sure how to react. Then, "MUUUMMMMMYYYY DADDY'S MADE CAKE FOR BREAKFAST" echoed up the stairs.
Good old Dad.
I am 43 years old now and still find a little present from Santa under my tree when everyone has gone on Christmas Day. I have no idea how it gets there but somehow it does and I look forward to it every year. When you reach that stage where it isn't cool for your kids to believe anymore just remember this, it’s up to you to keep the magic alive so that they will grow up with it in their hearts and pass it on.
Happy Christmas Everyone