I was halfway into a mason jar full of grapefruit juice and vodka the other evening, when Cristie started howling from the other room. "Dave, help! Help!"
"I'm trying to watch the Golf Channel!" I said, starting to get up halfway through that ridiculous sentence.
"Is Santa real?" Scout directed the question she'd been peppering Mom with, to me.
I looked at Cristie.
Cristie looked at me.
I took a big gulp out of the mason jar, and looked at Scout.
"What do you think?"
She looked at me hard as hell and said, "Is he or isn't he?"
And then she ran upstairs wailing.
We'd have left her up there for awhile to feel her grief, but we had company coming over, due in five minutes, so we called her back down.
"I told my friends," she said, sobbing, "that my parents would never lie to me."
Later, she would say she believes in God because of Santa Claus, and that she had prayed to God about Santa Claus.
She would say she hates Santa Claus.
She would ask, "Who takes my teeth?"
She would say she will never trust us again.
We had a lot to say, of course, but the most salient statement—the only statement that didn't sound to our own ears like a Clintonian justification about what the meaning of is is, was: "We're sorry."
Because sorry, we definitely are.