by Lisa In our incessant search for something to believe in, the familiar to hold on to, have we become liars?
My recent encounter with dispelling the lies was this past Christmas when I unveiled to my daughter that Santa Clause was not real. Just a few days ago, my daughter lost a tooth. Well, here we go again. Placing blame for our lies on the sake of tradition. It all begins when we are children. Our parents tell us these fairy tale stories of princesses, prince charming, fairies, and super heroes. When we grow up, we continue to embed these untruths in the minds of our young daughters that this knight in shining armor will swoop them away into their happily ever after. Likening them to damsels in distress that will always need to be rescued.
The beginning of my lie occurred 4 years ago at the sight of my daughter’s first lost tooth. “Now put this tooth under your pillow, and the tooth fairy will be sure to bring you something special,” I told her. The usual hidden treasures that she would awaken to the next mornings became any change that I could scurry up around the house, or sometimes a mommy-made coupon that would allow for a special dessert or fun outing. As she became older, whenever she lost a tooth she would daintily place the tooth in an envelope with a note on the front of it, that read “Dear Tooth Fairy, No money please”. Over time, I could plainly see that I had this tooth fairy gig cut out for me. Gone were the days of loose change and home made things, oh no, she wanted and asked for more. I began to keep a box chock full of little goodies that I would pick up from time to time during my shopping so that I would always have something “special” from the tooth fairy to give to her.
Fast forward to the most recent happenings. My daughter says, “I wonder what the tooth fairy is going to bring me tonight.” I just knew that I had something in my box that I could make magically appear in the morning for her, so I didn’t give it much thought. But, unfortunately to my surprise, when I opened my goody box I realized that I let my supply get low and had absolutely nothing to place under her pillow that night. What ever would I do? It was too late to go to the store. I made up my mind that instant that I would just simply tell her that the tooth fairy must have been so busy last night and would probably come by the next night. Of course, she woke up disappointed. During the course of the day I told myself to remember to pick up something for the tooth fairy while I was out. I forgot! Two mornings later, this 9 year old was not a happy little camper. All I heard was “why mommy?”, and “where is she?”. I decided that damn it, this would be the day. No more would I continue this tale of lies. So as gently as possible I asked her if she believed that a fairy really came to our house at night to bring her a gift for exchange of her tooth? She kind of shrugged her shoulders and looked down and screeched, “So now you’re telling me that the tooth fairy isn’t real either?!” As she burst into tears I held her tight and comforted her with these words, “No matter what, mommy’s love for you will always be real”.
At that moment I wasn’t for sure if what I had done was to protect her from further disappointment or if it was out of spite for not receiving recognition all those years of pretending to be the tooth fairy. What I do know is that it takes a brave momma to love her child so deeply that she will go leaps and bounds to make them happy. I hope that one day she will understand. Bravery is in truth.
Get in on the conversation and let me know whether you think I did the right thing. Also, what are your thoughts on how fairy tales and super heroes impact our lives in the following ways:
1. Ability to form healthy relationships
2. Creating unrealistic expectations
3. Projecting negative self-image and body disorders
Lisa is the founder of Sistaspace, a blog site all about the little things in life that make you go hmmm and are usually left unspoken. Looking for some end of the week commentary that is sure to spark up a conversation? Check out her Top Five Friday posts at sistaspace.wordpress.com.