Magical Reality - The Final Chapter

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Her eyes narrowed. Her lips pursed She stared at me.

"What?", Emily said.

"I am the Tooth Fairy...and Daddy too, just like My mom was MY tooth fairy and Grandma Emily was Daddy's tooth fairy and someday you'll be your own child's tooth fairy...."

The silence in my car was killing me. I have never in ten years felt my child so angry with me. It washed over me in waves as I watched her face tighten and the tears begin. She silently turned her back on me and faced the window. With her back to me she said, "You lied to me."

"Yes", I said, "and it is all right if you are angry with me - I accept your anger, sweetie." I gripped my steering wheel. I reached out and touched her shoulder. She shrugged me off. I hesitated and put my hand back out onto the middle of her back.

I needed to touch her, to reassure her - to absolve myself somehow, to make her understand that we lied because we wanted to make the world magical for her, that all my parenting fears and dreams all collide into one jumbly mess that is the beautiful terror of being a Parent.

But I said none of those things. I merely said again, "I accept your anger with me, you have a right to be angry."

The drive to the Second Cup was silent. She opened the car door and stormed out, up the walkway. I reached down to hold her hand and she pointedly snatched it away. Her face was a thunderstorm.

"Two lime Italian Sodas, Please."

I mean - come on. There is no reason to be dehydrated in the midst of a family crisis.

Emily took hers from the counter and stormed back to the car.

She had still not gotten to the next part of the reveal. But I knew it was coming. I feared it more than the tooth fairy revelation.

I got back into the car.

"I just have to stop at the market for veggies for Coco - and the Trattoria for dinner for us, then we can head home - Ok?" I attempt to sound as if I am not on the verge of bursting into tears myself. I sound, I think to myself, like generations of mothers attempting to hold it all together. When the day is done, children and animals still have to be fed, watered and put to bed. There is no escaping the mundane.

She takes a few sips of her Italian soda. She says nothing to me.

I can feel her brain working - running the memories of the tooth fairy, reaching out, making connections....until it clicks.

For the first time, she turns to face me. She stares right at me.

"Santa?", she whispers.

I inhale. The raw hurt on her face is killing me. I have to cauterize the wound.

"", I say.

More Silence. This time deeper and darker than before. We are both being sucked into it.

"I don't feel good", says Emily.

"I know honey - this is alot of information for you to take in. We'll be home after I make these two stops."

"No", she says, "I Don't feel good." Pause. "I think I am going to throw up..."

As she vomits -heartily - in my car.

And I deserved it, really.

That seemed to even the score in her mind. I was forgiven shortly afterwards as I held her in my arms and answered her stream of questions:

Would I still be her Santa? Could she still put out wine and cookies for Santa? Would I still take her teeth when they fell out?

Yes, Yes and More Yes.

Nothing about those things have changed, I explained - except that she knows it is Mom and Dad who are guarding the magical gate.

Protecting her.

18 Baleful Regards:

Laski said...

For ten years you created magic for her . . . and that will carry her so far into the future. She'll find that place between fantasy and reality. And you'll be the one to guide her there.

Stumbled upon your blog and I was mesmerized by this post. A simple moment in the car, a simple conversation becomes epic . . . at least in the life of your daughter (and you, as well).

Amazing. Guide away . . .

Fraulein N said...

Oh God. You guys. I don't think your daughter will look back on the childhood you gave her and be anything but grateful. It's beautiful that she wants to keep that tradition of magic alive.

Girlplustwo said...

oh dawn, this one was a crusher. good lord, woman. you did well.

Anonymous said...

I love that she vomited. I mean, it's devastating, OF COURSE. But it just shows the depth of her belief and how Earth-shattering growing up can be. It's so poetic and beautiful even though it's, you know, barf.

Alianora said...

Poor kid! I remember finding out when I was 10 *catching Santa in the act of distributing presents* and told my little sister and all of my friends...MANY parents were upset but this, but I was really just offended that the parents had lied to me.

It's sweet that she so strongly believes in the magic, though.

MarciaAnn said...

I lived her pain; I've lived your pain. In a few years, she'll start wearing the air of knowledge as she extolls the virtue of Santa on those younger than her. I've seen it in my 2 older step-daughters as they keep the magic alive for their younger sister, who, in the next year or two will be dealing with the same pain Emily is dealing with.

Sucks to have to clean up vomit in a car though, more power to you there

Anonymous said...

Ooh, wow. Ouch. She took it really hard. I can see Mimi reacting like that in a few years.

But you handled it beautifully, my friend.

Mignon said...

I found out the hard way when I was 6, but I don't recall being overly surprised or disappointed. Reading your account made me realize my kids will probably not be as jaded and suspicious as I was at that young age. Shit. Can you tell my kids when the time comes?

kate said...

What a tough moment, though you handled it beautifully. This is why I cringe inwardly every time we mention Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc. to our guys. I don't remember when I found out, and certainly don't remember it being an issue for me, but that doesn't make me dread that moment any less. Ouch.

On another note, I am so impressed by Emily's teacher-- the time and care she has invested in Emily, and her sensitivity in dealing with the situation. You really got lucky there-- what a gift.

And I empathize with the whole dilemma of DHC and how to help Em deal with it all. You write so poignantly about all of this...

jeanie said...

I am sorry that she vomited - ouch!

Anonymous said...

You have GOT to stop making me cry! We haven't gotten there yet - maybe having a little brother will keep us going for another year. Last year I got questioned, and responded with: does buying a bunch of presents for no real reason sound like something I would do? To which they both had to agree it did not! Thus, they still believe.

alyca said...

You totally made me cry.

Probably my favorite set of posts ever from balefulregards

Beth said...

Sob! I'm sorry (for the vomit and the painful end to the hidden magic). My oldest (now 15) knows the truth, but my younger two (9 and 5) are still in the magic ... and I hope so for a few more years.
I am dreading my 9yo's reaction when he learns, and hope he is as good-natured about keeping the magic alive for his little sister as our oldest has been.
As always, magnificently written.

Ruth Dynamite said...

But the Easter Bunny lives, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh Dawn...but well handled. I just told my daughter (when she asked) where ham comes from, and the look on her face...well let's just say that I am dreading the Tooth Fairy Talk. You did wonderfully well. /Fifi

Run ANC said...

Maybe it's just me, but I think she would be a lot sadder if she never had the magic of Santa or the tooth fairy in her life.

sweatpantsmom said...

Oh, oh oh!!!! I feel your pain, Dawn. I went through this nightmare last Christmas morning. There was Kiyomi locking herself in her room and screaming I was a liar. Let's just say it wasn't very merry. (You can read about it here:)

Unknown said...

Love this post! Thanks, Dawn! Santa gets wine and cookies at your house? Perhaps my lactose-intolerant home should follow suit.

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