While You Were Away

Something really exciting happened while my older two children were at summer camp. Something so exciting that I wrote to tell them about it. They both got a letter on the same day with the big news.

The Doctor paid us a visit! In the Tardis! I mean, wow! How exciting! Hal was elated!

When I arrived at their respective camps to pick them up, I even showed them the photographic proof of the visit on my phone.


To my shock and dismay, neither one of them were impressed. In fact, they flat-out didn’t believe me. Neither one of them.

“That picture isn’t real, Mommy,” said Jane. “The lighting is wrong. Where did you learn to Photoshop like that?”

I reminded her that we didn’t own Photoshop.

Later, she tried another approach. “He’s not really The Doctor, Mommy. That’s not his real name.”

“Oh, really? What’s his real name?”

“He’s not real. He’s just an actor that plays a role on a TV show. His real name is David Tennant.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes. Mommy. It is.” Her impatience was very thinly veiled.

“No, it’s not. The actor on the TV show’s real name is not David Tennant.”

“Oh, really? Then what is it?”

“David Tennant’s real name is David McDonald, but it doesn’t matter because that picture isn’t of David Tennant. It’s of The Doctor.”

“No, it’s not. That’s David Tennant.”

“No, it’s The Doctor. David Tennant was chosen to play him on the TV show because he shares such a striking resemblance to one of The Doctor’s actual physical forms.”

“Seriously, Mom. Where did you learn to Photoshop like that?”

Daryl had a much more flawed argument. He insisted that the picture was obviously fake because “that’s not even the current doctor! That’s an old one.”

Hello? Time travel? The Doctor. Travels. Through. Time.

“It doesn’t matter,” he claimed. “He can still only be one doctor right now.”

“You obviously don’t understand time travel,” I argued. “Each regeneration of The Doctor has traveled throughout time, past, present, future. Any one of them could be stopping in to see us. We just don’t know about it until he arrives.”

Even Jane backed me up on this one but Daryl still shook his head and walked away.

When we got home, they descended on Hal almost immediately.

“Hal, did The Doctor really come to visit?”

Hal nodded his head. Good boy.

“No he didn’t!” they responded in unison. “Come on, tell us the truth. Did he come?”

Again, he nodded. Then Jane pulled a devious trick on her honest little brother. She pulled up a picture of Matt Smith as The Doctor on her phone and asked, “Is this who came to visit?”

Hal nodded. They pounced. “See! That wasn’t The Doctor in the picture! It’s not true! He didn’t come!”

Hal rolled over and buried his face in the armrest of the chair. He was embarrassed and I thought he might be close to tears.

“You two are ridiculous!” I said, coming to his defense. “Hal is a very smart young man. He’s capable of recognizing The Doctor in all his forms. He doesn’t have to look physically the same for Hal to recognize him for who he is. He just didn’t understand your question.”

They still did not believe. Children these days. Such jaded and doubtful creatures. Where’s their sense of wonder and mystery? Why so cynical and suspicious? I’m their mother. Why would I make up such a tale?


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