A Twelve Cities Christmas: Sanguine

How do Harlow and Quinn spend Christmas morning? Read on to find out. Featuring characters from T.J. Lockwood’s Arcadian Towers (Forthcoming).

SOME THINGS JUST SHOULDN’T BE DISTURBED. The room is quiet and I take extra care to slip out of bed without making too much of a stir. The bedroom door opens a crack revealing a pair of brown eyes just waiting for me to take the lead. I slowly make my way to the closet and grab my house coat before stepping out into the hall.

What now, Mommy?” Quinn closes the door with a little too much force. We both pause just long enough to make sure Mycah is still sleeping.

I point towards the kitchen. “First things first. We should check and see if Santa read your note.”

Her eyes widen. “But what if he didn’t?”

I put on my house coat. “Then we start making your dad breakfast and see if we can catch him coming down the chimney.”

Her smile is instant. We both tip toe towards the kitchen together, but Quinn splits off to the Christmas tree without a second thought.

A small envelope with her name on it sits on the hearth. She’s been staying up later and later trying to catch a glimpse of the mythical man in the red suit. I never wanted to use the rouse of Santa as so many parents have done before, but Mycah is attached to the game. Fine by me, he stays up late while I take the early morning with Quinn. I don’t agree with Santa, but I can’t deny that I enjoy seeing our daughter’s face light up on Christmas morning.

She brings the envelope over as I put a pot on the stove.

Now, remember what we talked about.”

She nods. “Christmas is just a day like all the other days.”

I smile and crack three eggs into a bowl. “And?”

She scrunches her nose as she thinks really hard. “And… we get turkey tonight?”

I chuckle. “Yes, we do.”

She sits down at the dining room table and carefully begins opening her envelope from Santa. I start the quick process of whisking and seasoning the eggs as she slides the folded paper free.

She’s scrunching her nose again—trying her best to read what’s written on her own.

Do you think Dad would prefer orange juice or milk?” I pour the eggs into the pot. She doesn’t answer. If anything she’s scrunching her nose more.

Mom?” She looks up from the paper.


She sighs. “Is Daddy Santa?”

I pause, wooden spoon in hand. “I don’t think so, why?”

Great, now I’m one of those parents who lies to their kid.

Quinn hops off her chair and shows me the paper. “It just… looks like Daddy’s writing.”

I stir the eggs, lower the heat, and then let my thoughts rapid fire in my head. She’s smart, I don’t know how many six year olds would ask that question. “Did you understand all the words?”

A redirect. I’m not sure what else to say.

She points at her name. “That’s my name, and I think it says I’ve been good.” She says it more like a question rather than a statement.

I quickly stir the eggs and then take a look at the letter. “Yes, I think you’re right. Looks like Santa’s been watching and you’ve been very good. Can you get me a plate please?”

She nods and grabs a small plastic plate from one of the bottom cupboards. “Is he though?”

I turn off the stove. “Who?”

She brings me the plate. “Is Daddy Santa Claus?”

This is it—one of those parenting moments that your kid is going to remember for the rest of their life. I have to choose my words carefully. I know what I want to say, but I don’t want Mycah’s dreams shattered when he wakes up.

I kneel down and look Quinn in the eye. “This is a big girl moment, Quinn. Are you ready for it? Because if you are then there is no turning back.”

She pauses. “What do you mean?”

I sigh. “If you’re ready to be a big girl then you and I have to start playing a game.”

She smiles. “I like games.”

I know you do, but this one is a little different. It involves making someone close to you really happy for a really long time.”

She nods. “I want to play.”

I smile. “It also means that you and I need to keep a secret and not tell anyone. It has to stay between you and me. Can you do that?”


I then move closer and whisper into her ear.

When I’m finished she scrunches her nose, smiles and then gives me a big hug. The door at the end of the hall opens. I stand, plate the eggs and give them to Quinn who already has a fork in her hand.

Mycah starts walking over from the bedroom.

Daddy, no!” She moves so quickly that I have no idea how the eggs didn’t end up on the ground. “You’re supposed to stay in bed so we can bring you breakfast.”

He puts his hands in the air and backs back into the bedroom. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Quinn smiles. “It’s ok. Just wait over there though. I’ll get the orange juice.”

I open the fridge, pour a glass and hand it to Quinn. “Careful not to spill.”

She moves quickly. It’s a good thing I only filled it halfway. “Daddy, Santa left me a letter.”

Her voice carries from the bedroom. I have no idea whether or not I’m doing this parenting thing right, but I’m giving it my best shot.

Both Mycah and Quinn’s laughter can be heard from the bedroom. I smile and make my way to join them.