Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Tooth Fairy and Me

For many children, believing in the tooth fairy fades fairly quickly and they figure out that behind that great illusion are their parents. Last night, our daughter left two recently lost baby teeth under her pillow with a thoughtful letter to the tooth fairy. She began leaving letters for the tooth fairy from the beginning and the tooth fairy responded in kind. The letter last night was amazing, it had detailed references to the prior note left by the tooth fairy. Imagine our horror at 10:30 PM when we read this letter...we had work to do. Our daughter was expecting a note from the tooth fairy when she awoke, but that isn't what is important in this story...

The important part was our daughter was having a thoughtful dialogue with an imaginary being. She asked thought provoking questions and was nurturing the relationship. The money and other surprise she would find in the morning are clearly exciting to her, but what seems to be of greater importance is to have her questions answered, questions that she had been waiting to ask since the last tooth left her body. Reading this letter we learned that the prior letter from the tooth fairy was read often. We had no idea how deeply our little notes had gone into our child.

This morning brought gleeful smiles from her towel wrapped head and she shared the information and items left by the tooth fairy. My partner and I delivered academy award performances in response. When she left to get dressed for school we marveled that our 9 1/2 year old daughter still believed in the tooth fairy and we loved that she did. Our musings took us further and we wondered who was really creating the illusion, us or our daughter? Was she onto us or did she really believe that a magical being called the tooth fairy who left loving messages for her was real?

After some thought we decided it really did not matter - the experience was what was important and we were happy to be in it with her.