My six-year-old cried long, bitter tears today because it finally dawned on her that she will never be able to fly like birds, butterflies and fairies. She has been suspecting the truth for some time, but had been holding out a glimmer of hope that unaided human flight could still be possible.
This afternoon her little sister invented a sophisticated flying machine that involved tying a balloon to two bikes and saying ‘one, two, three, blast off’. Sitting on one of the bikes, Lily the oldest was hoping against hope that it might just work. When it was clear that she was still sitting in our garden and not floating above it, big tears came. At first, I thought she was joking, but then it became obvious that she was beyond merely sad, her heart was badly bruised. I’m not looking forward to the truth about Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy et al dawning on her.
In fact, the big FC cropped up today too. She was talking about how last Christmas she heard the bells of his sleigh jingling. She said she just knew she was going to see him one day. Then she turned to me and said, ‘How about you Mummy? Do you want to see Father Christmas? Or have you given up hope?’
Soon she’ll be starting school, where some playground bully will no doubt disabuse her of her belief in Father Christmas and his cohorts. I’m having to let my little person leave babyhood behind and make her first steps into a more grown-up world. And all I can do is watch and be available to wipe some tears.