If you were standing here, looking upon this scene, your head leaning against the door frame to the left, you could probably see it.
The moment, right there, where childhood, so sweet and innocent, slipped away and left me standing, eyes wide open, mind reeling, "No."
With a single sound, the sound of two silver coins being collected into Big A's hands, there, in front of my eyes, childhood moved along to what lies beyond it, without so much as a warning or goodbye to me.
It slipped away, at 3:47 a.m., drifting into the breeze of tomorrow, pixie dust and my tears falling like shooting stars in its wake.
When Big A sheepishly came down the stairs, I asked her if she wanted to talk about it.
"So you were awake the entire time?" I asked her.
"Why didn't you say something?"
"I don't know. Because I was wondering. I kind of thought that it wasn't real, but I just wanted to make sure."
And her last letter from the Tooth Fairy, left lying on the floor, a scrap, a remnant, a reminder of what won't be again.
It didn't end there, though, what slipped beyond in that doorway.
"So, I need to ask you something else."
"Santa Claus. Is he real?"
"Well, you know, there are a lot of people that dress like Santa, because obviously, Santa can't be everywhere..."
"Mom. Do you believe that one man gets in a sled on Christmas Eve and goes to every house in the world? And I want you to tell me the truth. Not some white lie."
"I believe in the spirit of Santa."
"Do. You. Believe. Santa. Is. A. Man. That. Is. Alive?"
"I believe that, yes, there might be a Santa. He might not go to every single house, but who's to say that there isn't something magic out there that shows up to the people that need it most?"
She looked at me, head tilted, drinking me in, I suppose, my tears and faults and wondering how she gets stuck with a mom that cries over someone that isn't even real.
"OK. I guess I believe in that, too. But I don't believe in him like I used to."
"And mom, one more thing. Christmas Eve. Are you the one that buys the presents from Santa?"
And there, in front of me: Snow falling, church bells ringing, "Silent Night" sung sweetly in the accent of my Grandfather's tongue, children racing into my grandparents house, siblings and cousins sliding on the snow in our best shoes, into the house where Santa would soon arrive, calling us each by name, giving us each a gift. Photo albums becoming full with the passing of time, each Christmas Eve and each child, on Santa's lap.
And there, in front of me: Me, buying my first gift from Santa for my own child, my own baby sitting on Santa's lap, "Silent Night" bringing me to tears, snow falling, children racing into my grandparents house, Santa calling them by name, this new generation, these wide-eyed creatures who still believed, who couldn't sleep from the excitement, who couldn't wait to sit on Santa's lap.
And there, in front of me: What I already know, what I've tried not to know, what I'll be thinking of this Christmas Eve, her first when she is certain that some things don't exist: Time, standing in front of me, always, always in front of me, leaving me behind, handful of pixie dust and heart full of unicorns and a Santa that is real.