Today, the house of cards came crashing down after Natalie began grilling me about the Tooth Fairy's responses to the letter she'd left her the night before. She'd lost a molar (3rd tooth in a month) and had set out her Little Critters tiny bed with blanket along with a few Cheerios, a button and a glass bead (because everyone knows fairies love found objects...especially shiny things). She figured her fairy was tired and hoped she might rest and enjoy a bit of refreshment before leaving our home. In my desire, to play the role best, I went as far to figure out what my fairy name would be by using the Fairy Name Generator program. I wrote, erased and rewrote my answers several times...not quite sure if I'd disguised my handwriting well enough...or written small enough.
|My fairy name is Bindweed Goldwitch. I chose elderberries as my favorite food and honeysuckle as my favorite color.|
Initially, Natalie was thrilled to find some of the Cheerios she'd left had been eaten, the tiny bed unmade and answers to her questions...but something nagged at her and she continued to fire questions at me. I did my best to deflect and evade, but something nagged at me, too. She wanted the truth. I found I could no longer lie...because the truth about little white lies is that they always need to be fed by bigger ones. In my head, a battle waged between preserving wonder and maintaining trust with her.When I finally conceded, she stopped, eyes wide and unblinking.
"What?...you mean it was you who left the glitter?...who ate the Cheerios and the berries and ...
"So...Isaac was right," she continued.
"I have no more wonder. I'm heartbroken...no Santa either then...wait..."
"So there's no phone number for Santa?"...
Oh, the jig was up.
I held her and cried, too. I cried for her loss of innocence and wonder. I mourned over the loss of watching her engage in the fine art of fairy house-building. I had tried to break the news gently by sharing with her The Truth About Santa letter so as to preserve her love of magic. Instead, it only made her wail more
"I guess I'll just have to be an author then!" she cried.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I was hoping to grow up to become one of Santa's elves!...but now I'll just have to be an author," she explained.
Oh boy. What have I done?...I've ruined my kid. And then another thought struck me -- what if she stops believing in God?...I've asked her to believe in so many things that weren't true...but God, although we've never seen him...He's different...but, what if she doesn't believe in anything I say anymore?...
Between sobs, I interjected, "But, you know God is real, right?"
"Of course I do," she responded indignantly.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized my child's sense of wonder was still very much intact.
Growing-up is so painful. Thanks for giving me smart kids to help ease the process along.