[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="232" caption="(Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption] "Mommy, you wouldn't lie to me, would you?" "Of course not, sweetie. Why do you ask?" "Ummm... is Santa real?" Ever since her older brother told her there is no such thing as Santa Claus, my daughter questions me regularly. She ran to me for reassurance that day. She didn't want to believe him. I tried to explain to her that the spirit of Santa is all around us and that he lives in all our hearts. "But, is he real Mommy?" I'm not sure I did such a great job. She's very inquisitive. She idolizes her brother and has total faith in him. He wouldn't lie to her, but neither would her mother. She's starting to piece things together. Sigh. I'm afraid this may be the last time I see handwritten letters to Santa filled with hope and promise. I'm afraid this may be the last time she runs into my room on Christmas Eve because she heard footsteps on the roof. I'm afraid this may be the last time we scatter oats on the lawn and leave milk and cookies on the kitchen table. I'm afraid this is the last year we will experience the excitement of Santa in its truest form – through the eyes of a child who wholeheartedly believes in the magic of Christmas. She is my youngest child. She is my last chance to see the beauty of the season from the other side. She is my final farewell. I'm not ready.