How I Told The Kids There Was No Tooth Fairy

… And shattered their hopes and dreams forever. Since we’re Jews the whole Santa Claus thing has been pretty redundant. We told our boys there was no Santa right from the start, but not to tell their friends because it would upset them. There are so many parts of parenting they don’t prepare you for, it seems irrelevant to pick on a little harmless family folklore. Nevertheless in terms of etiquette, how do you admit to your children that you have been lying to them about something ever since you can remember, for no other reason than because it is the “done” thing to perpetuate that lie?

Tell me the truth, says Samson, Is there a tooth faiwy or is it you?

What do you think? I feel him out.

I think there’s a tooth faiwy, but my fwiends all say its your pawents, he replies earnestly.

David also scans my face intently.

Does anyone younger than you say it’s your parents? I hedge, intending to use some other enlightened parents as a guide.

He names a kid in his class who just turned 7, Samson is 7 and a half. If that kid is ready, my kid is.

Do you want the truth? I ask him wondering even if he is ready, whether I am.

Yes, he says decisively.

Okay then… (I really don’t want the kids at school to think our kids are backwards.) Well, my face breaks, It’s us.

I knew that, says David, with not quite convincing bravado.

It’s you guys? He asks, and his face falls. I’m really sad right now he says.

I see your sadness I say, come let’s sit on the couch and be sad.

Can I watch TV? asks David restlessly.

No, I say, We’re not going to use TV to numb our sadness.

I’m sad for Samson, David says at first then admits he is sad too.

I witness them and we feel the passing of an era, one that started with a fable in the early 1900’s and became part of parenting law. Why didn’t we question this? I start to wonder.

You lied to us, accuses David, making me wonder how he’s going to take the whole penis goes in the vagina to make a baby thing. Is omission really lying?

Come on, I say and his eyelashes sweep downwards in a way that makes me kiss him immediately.

Can we see our teeth? Samson suddenly asks excitedly.

Of course! I go and get them out of their hiding places, two wooden boxes each carved out of one piece of solid Australian native wood that they were given as babies.

They look at the little calcium pebbles and marvel. They count them to make sure they are right, each of them has swallowed a tooth and this one is missing.

But there was a tooth faiwy once but she just died, right mommy? Samson says and I nod noncommittally.

They watch TV, a tiny bit older, a tiny bit wiser and sadly a tiny bit more like every other jaded adult on earth, that believes in the limitations of the material world. The TV does not numb my sadness. I simply witness it and let it be.

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