***Disclaimer: Not suitable for children***
“I’m starting to think that elves aren’t real.” My 11 year old daughter announced her theory with a note of despair. “I was going through your Amazon order history and saw the Elf on a Shelf package.”
My fingers gripped the steering wheel a wee bit tighter as I blinked. Okay. I got this. Sure. Glancing backwards at her anxious face, I sucked in some air. “That’s not the one that Santa gave us. I ordered that for your aunty.” I began feeling quite pleased with my explanation so I rattled on sensibly. “But I had to return it because your aunty didn’t want to move the elf around every day. You know. She wanted to stick with the ceramic elf so it just sits there.”
“Ahhh! You told me!” Her childlike voice accused me harshly. “You just told me it’s not real!”
“What? No, that’s not what I said.”
“Yes, it is! You just said you move the elf!”
“I said that? No, your aunty doesn’t want to move-ohhhh dear. I didn’t, no, you didn’t-” I stopped stuttering. My shoulders visibly drooped as my hands dropped to the bottom of the steering wheel. “Wow. I just told you.”
Her voice wobbled. “So is Santa real?” She was asking me to kill her childhood fantasies on the way to pick up her sister. Great.
“I guess you are old enough to know the truth. You have been questioning it a lot recently, anyway.” A grimace escaped as I admitted to a lifetime of lies.
“Is the tooth fairy real?”
Oh, I have been waiting for this particular moment. I released a sigh of utter relief. “You don’t know how long I have been struggling to keep that up!” I confessed to my child. “It’s time you knew how hard it is to do that job. And yes, it was me who stole your tooth fairy pillow. But it was an accident, I swear!”
My daughter abruptly sobbed, “You ruined everything! I hate you!”
Well, I didn’t expect that.