Who would have thought the lives of two children would change with a simple question over a bowl of cornflakes? It was such an ordinary moment; none of us saw it coming.
“Why didn’t she come again?”
-Dammit, I forgot, again!
“I don’t know sweetie, I guess the tooth fairy had a big week this week”
But it was the next question “Is she even real?” that slapped me fair square across the face. I could feel us spiraling into territory I wasn’t quite prepared for,
not at 7:45 am and not with my baby!
I could only half smile, tilt my head and shrug as I weighed up the truth with the death of childhood fantasies. It is a close call: Lie and keep the dream alive in one corner, honesty and trust in the other.
“Well…” and right there in that slight pause, she figured it all out.
“So she’s not?” her voice wobbled. Well, as you can imagine, one thing lead to another and before we knew it we were throwing the lot out, Easter Bunny was next to go, then the big fella.
“And Santa?” she asked with a glare, now getting angry.
I could let go of the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny easily, they hadn’t done a very good job in our house anyway, but Santa had worked his big red butt off over the years and I wasn’t quite ready to out him.
But, my daughter had the courage to ask me a direct question and I had to honor her with the truth, as hard as it was.
It was a tough realization, there were tears. Meanwhile her older brother breathed a sigh of relief; finally he could give up the charade. The pressure he had put on himself, chanting over and over “I must believe I must believe” in order to reap the rewards, was finally finished.
“So all the adults are in on this?” He asked.
“Yes” I confessed, feeling kind of mean.
“All the people on TV, in the shops? They all know?”
Yes, I admitted, it certainly is a well-planned conspiracy amongst the adults.
Eventually the children went off to school happy that morning feeling as though they’d gone through a rite of passage and come out all grown up. Actually I may have taken it harder than them. After all, it was the end of an era. But as I’ve slowly let go of the old man flying in the sky, making all our dreams come true (as long as we’re good), I too am relieved the game’s up. But most importantly, I can at last get a little credit this year!
…Oh, and Tooth Fairy,