Carol Jane Remsburg
THE TOOTH FAIRY DIED TODAY
The Tooth Fairy died today.† She went the way the Easter Bunny did this Spring.† So far, Santa is hanging on until the end, the very bitter end.† Itís the timeline when a young child grows enough to lose that total belief.† Iím not too sure that this is progress.†
It begins with a question.† The ďIs The Tooth-Fairy Real?Ē† So, like the Easter Bunny, but these things die hard.† Weíve ingrained them so strongly in our children, and within ourselves that itís hard to let go.
With genuine wariness, my daughter confronted me this eve.† I couldnít deny it.† For the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are just fallacies.† They are wishes come true that we give to our children as we struggle between shielding them from the ugliness of life and teaching them how to safeguard themselves.† Now, Santa, is something entirely different.† I donít know how to explain it.† Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, or Father Christmas, is still very real to me.† Okay, okay, I know I buy the presents, but it isnít that.† Itís that ethereal and unspoken sense of innocence and the chance of being whole yet again.† Itís the sense of fantasy that becomes so real that itís hard to put it away in a dusty old box labeled ďforever gone.Ē†
As we weary parents plod through each day, life is hard.† We hide these things from our offspring.† We put on fake smilesóthat they see through immediately, to lighten the day and evening at home.† Our homes are where we are most vulnerable.† Theyíll learn soon enough that being a grownup isnít all itís cracked up to be.
So tonight, when Erin arrived home from summer camp with tooth taped in a paper cup, I needed to explain to her the realities of life.† She questioned and I had to answer.† Yes, dear old Mom and Dad made it for her.† We were the ones who put the dollar beneath her pillow at night.† The Tooth Fairy, Mr. Sandman, and the Easter Bunny were all one in the same.† Just us.† And, while she was disappointed, she also was dealing in logic which is the first killer of imagination.
However, she hasnít let go of Santa.† We have no chimney for him to climb down.† It rarely snows on Christmas, and when we do get a snow, itís normally so awful that itís scary for her and us.†
Me, I still live for Santa.† He hasnít left me a gift of the material sort since I was a child, yet his presence is always felt.† Itís the magic of knowing that heís really there.† These are the things Erin doesnít understand yet enough to truly know, or cleave to.† What she does understand is that Mommy isnít fibbing about Santa.† Little kids can spot a waffling fib at five paces.† So, it must be true.† The hard part for me will come over these next few months.†
To say that I could manage to filter through to a young child the same type of ethereal feelings I have about Christmas, Santa, and the Elves, is monumental.† The cold facts are that no presents, however gaily wrapped beneath the tree, are ever really from Santa.† No, the elves donít make them, yet the spirit is there.† Yea, more than that, itís the inner knowledge of specialness and uniqueness that we all have.† Itís a glow that we grow, tending with kindness that comes that one season of the year.† Itís the gift of realizing that each and all of us is special.† Itís a time of realization and awareness of one another.†
Itís the adults that plunge into the free-for-all shopping madness to purchase the one special thing their child wants most at Christmas no matter how it breaks the budget.† It matters not all the overtime hours worked, nor the sleepless hours spent assembling said gift, nor the quiet bickering between spouses as to who lost the damned instructions.† Itís none of that.† Most years, we adults donít even get it.† It remains such a material and heartbreaking time.† Yet, sometimes, sometimes the real part of the season shines through.†
Itís when a young child waits quietly to give you their most precious possession because they have nothing else to give.† They work no job, they have no money, all they have is love.† My daughter did that at four years-old to me.† She offered me her favorite toy when she realized that Mommy and Daddy hadnít gotten any gifts.† All the presents had been for her.† She then turned and gave another especially cherished item to her father. When that happens, itís like seeing the sun for the first time.
Oh, Don took it in stride, but I nearly lost it completely.† Things were very tight for us and it wasnít that we were worried about it.† Neither of us had realized that our little Erin would notice with the bounty that sheíd receivedóbut she did, and she acted upon it.
What frightens me most about the passing of the fantasy of these unseen beings is that Erin will lose her sense of imagination and wonder.† Going with it will be the unpondered possibilities.† Itís so hard to keep that and let go of the rest.
We see it all around and about us.† The young and the old seem jaded by life, not uplifted by the wonder of it.† Perhaps this is a concrete reason that we introduce to our offspring the chance to believe in something they canít touch.† Itís very like the religions that most of us hold dear.† It isnít tangible, yet we are expected to take that leap of faith.† Perhaps these are the baby steps toward that.† With that acceptance, aside from abstaining altogether, we put faith into something other than just ourselves and strive harder to be better than what we now are.
Still, itís more than that too.† Like I mentioned before.† Itís the first killer of imagination not to mention faith.† When we open ourselves and give ourselves only to find that it all isnít what itís supposed to be.†
Itís just not the oneness or bonding we feel with others, itís that filling of the spirit and joy of simply being.† That we are watched over and dear. †Each of us are you know, special that way.† Often we just donít recognize it as the world buzzes past.† Itís time we and our fellows know it.† The Tooth Fairy died today for my daughter, yet the touchstone of our spiritual selves shouldnít be lost.† Remind yourself this morning or this eve as you shake your head to regain your bearings that life is more than work, more than vegetating in front of the tube, itís about being.† And being special to yourself and others.† Donít let the Tooth Fairy die in vain. †