Emily and Phoebe

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The End of Innocence

Emily has a perturbed expression on her face.

"What's up, love?" I ask.

She takes a deep breath and exhales unhappily. "Some of my friends say that it isn't Father Christmas who brings them their presents," she gloomily replies

Ah. Now I want to see where this is going before I say something I may regret. "Really, darling?" I offer, non-committally

"Yes. They say that it's their mummies and daddies who bring them. And some of them even say they've seen their mummies and daddies filling their stockings. Do you think that's true, Dad?"

Ah, the old "Do you think that's true?" question. That means she knows it's true, but she needs to hear me say it. Deep breath. She had to ask eventually. "Yes," I say.

She seems slightly stunned by this. "Yes? What do you mean, yes?"

"I mean yes, your friends are right."

"Oh." She suddenly seems so terribly sad and deflated that I immediately regret puncturing her innocent illusions. "So it's you and Mummy who get us our Christmas stockings?" she asks.

There is no turning back now. "Yes, my love." I pat the space on the sofa next to me and she comes and sits down. I put my arm around her shoulder. "Father Christmas doesn't really exist."

"What???" She leaps up as if electrocuted. "He doesn't exist?" A long low moan escapes her. "I thought he just didn't have time to deliver all the presents. I thought you and Mummy were helping him. What do you mean 'Father Christmas doesn't really exist'?"

[To be continued]


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