6. Of Course There’s a Tooth Fairy.
It’s not uncommon to tell kids there is a happy round guy who only brings toys to good little boys and girls. This is a generally accepted parental “white” lie. In our family, we chose to neither confirm nor deny the existence of holiday characters. We simply emphasized our faith on religious holidays.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop us from having fun with the Tooth Fairy.
The deal is the Tooth Fairy wants good teeth. She doesn’t want dirty, unbrushed teeth. She’ll pay top dollar for a well-cared-for tooth.
However, the gig is usually up at around nine or so. That’s about how old my oldest daughter was when she stuck out her hand — palm up and fingers wiggling with expectation.
“Come on, mom. We both know there’s no Tooth Fairy. Why don’t you just give me the money now,” she half-demanded.
“Did you hear that?” I said.
“Listen. Can’t you hear it?”
“What is it?”
“It’s the sound of a dying Tooth Fairy. Every time a child says there’s no such thing as a Tooth Fairy, her Tooth Fairy dies.”
Her eyes narrowed, locking onto mine. She was old enough not to believe in fairy tales, but young enough not to be without a doubt.
Within days she lost several more teeth. She later told me she had picked the wrong week to grow up. More than a couple decades later I received a phone call from that same daughter’s oldest son. I could hear the suspicion in his voice from the minute I answered the phone.
“Yes. Hi, Zach.”
“Can I ask you a question?
“Are there such things as Tooth Fairies?”
I hesitated, and replied trying to sound wise, “What do you think?”
“I think mom puts the money under my pillow — I want to know what you think.”
“I think you just killed your Tooth Fairy.”
There was a brief pause of silence, “Yeah, that’s what mom said.”
The cycle of lies continues…