R came into GQ's room last night and threw a question out there. Not only did she throw the question out, she threw it out with the stipulation that GQ had "to tell [her] the truth."
"Is the Tooth Fairy real?" she asked.
I don't know how much time was between the question and the answer, but if you know GQ you know she's a straight shooter. Especially when given a directive like that.
So she told her that no, the Tooth Fairy isn't real. Then asked why she asked. Turns out she overheard some girls in her class saying, "I got $5 from the Tooth Fairy, and my mom's the Tooth Fairy."
This confirmed what she had already thought. Well, maybe not thought, but there was a nagging bit of doubt in her mind already because while she was looking through GQ's jewelry box she came across her old teeth.
The Tooth Fairy didn't start off taking her teeth. The first time he (more on that in a minute) came to visit he didn't take the tooth with him. R was pretty puzzled by that, but we just told her that our fairy seems to not take the teeth with him.
"Why is your Tooth Fairy a guy?" I hear you. Valid question.
Last year R wrote the Tooth Fairy a note. She asked for a name. I came up with Reginald, but you can call me Reggie. I can't remember what else Reggie put in his note, but there was some good info that made a then 8 year old R and 5 year old Coco feel pretty good.
So some doubt was already there when she discovered the teeth in the box. Luckily GQ is a quick thinker and instead of just crumbling right there and confessing she claimed absolute ignorance to the teeth's presence. It was truthful ignorance too because I'm the one that placed the teeth in there. In hindsight I see that a mother's jewelry box isn't the best place for a secret hiding place, but, well, no buts just bad hiding spot.
Some of you may be asking what is a 10 year old doing believing in the Tooth Fairy to begin with? If so it's because I believe that a strong imagination is a necessary component to a life well lived. There's enough garbage that we have to deal with on a daily basis and I want my girls to be able to be able to have that escape. GQ agrees, but perhaps not quite as strongly as me. I have spent a good bit of time building up this foundation of all things fantasy derived. Answers to questions of "Do _____________ exist?" are usually met with "Well, I've never seen one, but that doesn't mean they don't exist." or "I sure think so." If your parents aren't going to believe in something I would think it would make it awfully hard to believe in it yourself. Therefore I have always taken it as my responsibility to make sure that childhood magic is there for the Girls.
So with R's discovery that the Tooth Fairy is just something parents do to make losing a tooth a little less scary (GQ's explanation) another little piece of her youthful innoncence is gone. And not in exactly the same way, but in a similar way as when they hear a cuss word for the first time - it can't be undone. She can't and won't go back to believing in the Tooth Fairy. That part of her youth is gone. She's that much closer to being OLDER.
Just like when a child turns 5 she is no longer a baby, she's a kid; the passing of belief to disbelief - ack - even metaphorically eating from the tree of knowledge - you can't go back. And I realize that part of this is the acceptance of not only is R getting older, but so am I.
This whole Life thing. It fascinates me how most of the time the big changes that we experience come gradually, but at the same time seem to fly past. A teacher I work with summed it up best; The days crawl by and the years fly.
R has handled this very maturely after her initial shock and disappointment. Part of that may be from the fact that GQ and I are going to let her help us with Coco's Tooth Fairy experience from now on. She thinks that's kind of cool.
Ironically, the day after she found out The Truth her Safety Patrol post in the Library she was confronted with a book about the Tooth Fairy. "I just had to sit there and look at it all morning. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore so I went and put it back on the shelf where it belongs."
Acceptance and knowledge are bittersweet pills that we all take at one time or another.