A couple years back I wrote an article entitled “Liar, Liar,” having to do with Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, etc. All those mythic figures handed down from one generation of parents to the next. At the time, my children were all under the age of eight and firmly entrenched in the belief that the big guy in the red suit kept track of naughty and nice, that a winged, midnight fairy traded teeth for cash, and that a bunny of obscene proportions delivered sugar laden baskets in the night.
The controversy I stirred up following that piece was ridiculous. Email from around the globe fell firmly into two camps. The first made up of people who believe it is deceitful to encourage these beliefs in children, and that those of us who do are surely going to pay when the truth comes out. The other group contained parents, like myself, who remember the joy of their own childhoods and truly enjoy creating the magic for their own offspring, consequences be damned. So who was right? Only time would tell.
Well, time marches on, children grow up and all good things eventually become suspect. It was while sitting around the table discussing my five year old’s first loose tooth, that the other shoe finally dropped. Actually it was thrown by my oh-so-wise ten year old. She blurted out, “I don’t think there really is a Tooth Fairy,” to which my wiggly toothed youngest responded with a crestfallen face and a pithy, “There is too!”
I waited about two minutes for the subject to be changed and then quietly informed my oldest daughter to follow me into my bedroom. Shutting and locking the door behind us, I took a deep breath and turned to face this child who had given me ten years of Fairy-Bunny-Santa fun. The truth would soon be hanging in the air between us and the verdict would be delivered on that article from long ago.
I sat down and said, “Apparently you have a question you’d like answered?” She replied, “Yes. Are you really the Tooth Fairy?” I nodded, she broke into a huge, self satisfied smile and said, “I KNEW it!” Her smile then faded, her brow furrowed and she expressed concern that she would no longer score any cash when her teeth fell out. I assured her that The National Bank of Mommy would still cover all future losses.
I then said, “I imagine you have two other questions you’d like to ask?” Santa came first, followed quickly by the Big Bunny. In exchange for the truth, I received two more smiles, a couple more “I KNEW it!”s, and a totally unexpected, “You guys get us too much stuff.” I jokingly replied that I could correct that part. She began verbal backpedaling faster than a seasoned politician.
I am happy to report that what happened next is exactly what I predicted in that article so long ago. We hugged and I explained that in exchange for knowing the truth, she was now an official Fairy, Bunny and Elf, with all the rights and privileges of staying up late to hide eggs, gather teeth and put “too much stuff” under the tree. But I also emphasized that the bigger responsibility is in maintaining the magic for her younger sisters. The eight year old is not quite ready to ask the questions and the youngest is entitled to the same ten years of enchantment she has enjoyed.
As we went back out and joined the rest of the family, my daughter seemed to walk a little taller, a little prouder. As my eyes met my husband’s, he could read in them what had just transpired, what part of her childhood was over.
Ten years. A decade of sneaking around in the dark, making more magic than a dozen David Copperfields. Ten years of making her eyes sparkle, her tummy tingle and her heart race. And to those naysayers of long ago? She is not scarred, does not feel betrayed, deceived or lied to. Kids are so much smarter and understanding than that. She understands the gift she was given these past ten years, the gift she will pass on to her children one day.
It has been quite a ride, but maybe it’s not really over. There are still two children left to make magic for, and now we have someone else to keep us company in the sleigh.
Linda Sharp is an internationally recognized author & columnist
whose work wraps around the globe to appear in print publications
from Maine to Malaysia, as well as across the web. Linda is also
creator of the totally irreverent and hysterical website, Sanity
Central — A Time Out From Parenting!, located at
http://www.sanitycentral.com. Her latest book, Stretchmarks On My
Sanity: The Growing Pains of Raising a Family, has earned her rave
reviews and comparisons to the late Erma Bombeck. She may be
reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org .
Submitted by: Linda Sharp *
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