Santa put his arm around Daniel’s shoulders and shook his head when Daniel pulled away. “Daniel, we need to talk. I know you’re a good boy. My Christmas Magic tells me you are. But, you’ve been behaving badly in the past few months. You’re mother is almost sick with worry and she ended up in the hospital yesterday because you kept her up almost all of the previous evening. You also threw a snowball at Jessie and hit her. Do you want to tell my why you’re so angry.”
Santa leaned back on the park bench. He had taken Jessie and Daniel to the skating rink to have a talk with the boy. He looked at Daniel and frowned. Daniel did not say anything. He just began to cry.
Jessie looked at Daniel and moved the tip of the tail. She still didn’t like the boy. He had hurt her yesterday. But, she couldn’t stand it when people cried. She timidly walked up to Daniel and placed her head on his knee. She was surprised when Daniel hugged her and began bawling.
Jessie, Santa and Daniel sat on the bench for a long time until Daniel stopped crying. He sniffed and wiped his nose with his mitten. “It’s not fair,” he said.
“What’s not fair Daniel,” asked Santa? He handed Daniel a handkerchief and patted the boy on the back.
“My dad’s gone. He moved out. She pushed him away and now I’m all alone. I miss him so much and she doesn’t care about me at all.” Daniel rubbed his eyes and clung to Jessie.
” I didn’t know you’re dad had moved out. I knew your parents were having problems but I had no idea that your father had left. But, you are wrong. You’re mother loves you Daniel. She’s worried about you. So much so that she ended up in the hospital.”
“But, she’s the reason he’s gone! I hate her.” Daniel let go of the dog and stomped his feet on the ground.
“You don’t hate her or you wouldn’t be so upset. You love her but you are confused and upset. You’re mother didn’t push your father away. They just couldn’t get along that’s all. Why don’t we do this Daniel. Whenever you’re missing your dad and you need to get away from your mother for awhile, why don’t you come and visit Jessie and me. Your welcome to visit us at any time. Maybe, if you spend some time with us you won’t feel so alone. I know we can’t replace your father, but until he visits you we could do some things together. What do you say Daniel?” Santa rubbed his clean shaven chin and watched the boy’s face light up.
“You mean it? You mean I could really come and visit. I can see the reindeer and everything? ” Daniel jumped up and down excitedly.
“As long as you are respectful yes. But if you hurt Jessie again you won’t be able to come.”
“I’ll behave. I promise. ” Daniel
“And Daniel … be nice to your mother. She loves you.” Santa stood up and picked up Jessie’s lead.
“I’ll try, ” said Daniel.
Jessie thought that Daniel didn’t sound too convincing but she supposed it would take time. Change wasn’t easy but with Santa as his friend Jessie thought that Daniel would eventually learn to cope. She leaned pushed Daniel’s nose with her hand to get him to stand up. He stood and the three walked hand and hand back to the Claus house.