THE TRUTH FAIRY
My nearly nine year old son asked me to join him in private conversation the other day. He needed to speak to me about life, friends, his homework and…the tooth fairy. Yes, he still believed. Despite many queries and doubts, my children were staunch believers in the magic of the tooth fairy. My Man and I swore blindly (fingers crossed) that of course we weren’t the tooth fairy. How could that be? And while other kids in other houses may get cash, books, prizes and even jewelry (I know, crazy, right?), chez nous the tooth fairy always left a toonie. And always left a note.
It was the note that sealed the deal. Written in spidery ink, in a tiny envelope, it was the proof that the TF was the real deal. No parent could possibly print like that, my boy reasoned, not even his own. And so it went. Until last night.
My son told me the other kids in his grade 4 class were non-believers. He turned to me, desperate for guidance. He admitted that he wasn’t 100% sure of the TF’s validity, and yet, those notes! He challenged me: why was I smiling? I countered: why was he? And then, another tack: why was I trying NOT to smile? Again, right back atcha, son. He resorted to threats: the next time he lost a tooth, he’d be keeping the news to himself. He’d place the tooth under his pillow and wait. If the tooth fairy showed up – without his having told us the toothless news – then she was real. And if not? He’d know, for sure, the jig was up. He looked pretty proud of himself. Finally, he confessed: he really, really wanted her to be real, even though a part of him had a feeling she was not. “Please” he begged, “just tell me: Are you the tooth fairy?”
I took a deep breath and stared at him in all his beautiful innocence. Of course, this was the moment for me to come clean and fess up. I looked him squarely in the eye and replied: “No. I’m not the tooth fairy” and scurried out of his room.
When I recounted to my Man he was shocked: our son still bought in? How could I not tell him? Ditto our dear friend. He was nearly 9. He swore like a trooper, went to sleepover camp, taught her son dirty songs and still believed in the tooth fairy? Crazy! I had to tell him. The more I thought about it, the more I realized they were probably right. I didn’t want some nasty-ass kid making fun of him for his belief. I’d already had The Sex Talk with him so he’d hear the real version instead of some twisted one. The tooth fairy expose had nothing on where babies come from.
And so I told him. I admitted that yes, I was the tooth fairy. And the look on his face nearly felled me on the spot. Instead of a jubilant “a-ha!” or a triumphant fist pump, his entire demeanor changed. He slumped, utterly defeated, muttering something about having had a feeling but… And at that moment, once it was out there, I wished I’d kept shtum. He could’ve enjoyed a few more weeks of believing. At least until a couple more teeth fell out. But at the rate we were going, with nary a wiggler in sight, it may have been months. Instead, I just robbed him. With the unmasking of the tooth fairy came the end of his childhood as he knew it. The end of the innocence. Slaughtered, by his mother the TF imposter.
Luckily we never had to deal with Santa. Instead we’ve got b-lister Eliyahu at Passover. He still buys into that. Phew.