A few weeks ago Audra lost another tooth. And as a dedicated believer in all things magic – in her 8-year-old world, the Tooth Fairy continues to visit.
Don’t get me wrong – she has been around other kids (non-believers) for several years, and has obviously been presented with the notion that parents play the roles of magical entities like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. But our think-for-herself little girl has decided that she still believes. And we’ll leave it at that. As I stated in an earlier blog, I consider this to be a choice in believing that all things are possible. Which to me is one thing that is severely lacking in our world – and a spirit that we choose to keep alive and well in our household.
As for the Tooth Fairy, I have to admit my repeated guilt in going to bed on a ‘tooth fairy night’ without giving it another thought. But it came crashing back in the morning, when I was faced (yet again) with a concerned-looking little girl because she didn’t find anything under her pillow. I sent her back in to look, while quietly rummaging in my purse for some change to slip under the pillow – planning yet again to make up for the tooth fairy’s tardiness. And with a shout of joy upon finding the toonie that ‘somehow’ ended up under the other pillow on side of her bed, I thought I was in the clear.
But no. Not this time. “Mommy, why doesn’t the tooth fairy ever take my teeth?”, she asked. “I don’t know”, I answered, “Does it matter?”
“Yes.” Audra stated emphatically. “I’m going to write the Tooth Fairy a letter so that she comes back and takes my tooth.”
Ok. So now the stakes were high. Her note went right to my heart, and there was no way I was missing this one. It’s one thing to slip a toonie into her bed with her there – but quite another for her to wake up to see her note still there, untouched. So in I slipped on Night Two to take her tooth and the tooth fairy’s letter. But the hard part was yet to come.
On Night Three when I was tucking her into bed, she started at me with the unrelenting questions: “Mommy, did you take the letter?” “Mommy, I know you took it.” “Mommy, did you take my tooth?” “Tell me the truth.” “I want to know.”
With repeated and incessant questioning, I felt like I was being interrogated. And after ten minutes of denying and deflecting her questions, I started to question myself. Was I insulting her intelligence to continue along this line? Was she truly asking me for the truth, and I was failing her by continuing with a facade? And so I took a deep breath, and answered her repeated questions with my own: “Do you really want to know?” “YES!” she said decidedly. (And even then I hesitated) “Isn’t it more fun to believe?” I tried. “I WANT TO KNOW.” she replied.
And so I did it. I told her “Yes, I took the letter you wrote the Tooth Fairy, and the tooth you left with it.” I held my breath, wondering what she would say. And it was awful. She crumbled – she cried like her heart was broken. When Dean came in to see what was going on, she cried to him that I took her letter and tooth, and I felt even worse. With guilty ache in my chest, I left the room, leaving Dean to deal with our distraught daughter.
Fortunately, Dean and I are on the same page when it comes to these matters. We want our kids to believe that all things are possible. Especially if those beliefs give them a sense of wonder and amazement. We feel that our kids have a very firm grasp of reality – and that a little dose of magic adds to their lives.
As for me – do I believe in fairies? Yes. I do. I have never seen one. I don’t know if they exist in this world. Maybe once upon a time. Maybe in another dimension. Maybe they only live in our vivid imaginations. But I do believe that thoughts are real, and that anything that we can imagine can exist.
And that’s exactly what we told her. As for the situation at hand, I gave her back the tooth and the letter. I admitted that I took it because I didn’t want her to be disappointed. I told her that I didn’t know if the Tooth Fairy would come for it or not.
And this is what she wrote:
I’m sure that we dealt with this differently than some parents would. I’m also sure that we believe things differently than some people do (maybe most.)
We are truthful when we tell our kids that we live in a world of wonder and mystery – and that not all of life is explainable. We feel it is a choice to believe in things that we cannot see or touch or even prove. For us, it is simply an exercise in keeping our minds open to all possibilities.
I think we all left this experience fulfilled. Ultimately, we were giving Audra the option to choose what she wanted to believe. And I, for one, am glad that she chose to believe in magic.