My daughter and I were outside today when she wandered off to a pile of rocks. She picked a large rock up, and ran it over to me with as if it held royal importance.
“Mom! Mom! Can I keep this rock?” she asked.
“I suppose, but what are you going to do with it?” I replied, slightly puzzled at the appeal of a rock to a girl normally enamored with Barbies or anything that is pink and spewing loads of glitter.
“I’m going to put the rock under my pillow, and then the Tooth Fairy will come and get it and bring me money,” she replied with a one hundred-watt smile covering her face.
Fail! I laughed hysterically, because I loved her theory. I mean, maybe I should try that, putting some rocks under my pillow and hoping that the Tooth Fairy gives me money in exchange. But me thinks that that won’t work out. Her whole homemade ghetto Tooth Fairy theory did amuse me.
As a child, the Tooth Fairy was the only imaginative person I was ever permitted. My mother never told me there was a Santa Claus or an Easter Bunny. The denial of either wasn’t rooted with any deep religious belief. Mostly, this was because my hardworking single mother was not going to attribute any gifts I received to an imaginary fat man and his crew of child labored elves.
Truthfully, I can neither fathom nor justify why I was allowed the Tooth Fairy. Probably because the first time she tried to sneak money under my pillow, I caught her. But still.
To me, it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t know any different. Sure, I knew that other kids believed in these things, but I never felt like I was missing out on anything. If anything, I felt as if I was more knowledgeable and less fragile, because not once did I ever think someone broke into my house on Christmas Eve.
My husband thinks this lack of Santa Claus in my life was a crime. That it’s as if I missed out on some childhood rite of passage. In fact, the first Christmas we were married, after I went to sleep, he played Santa Claus. He wrapped my gifts, and even wrote they were from Santa. When I awoke the next morning, I found them all under the tree. It was oddly romantic.
He’s also pretty swept up with teaching Allie about Santa Claus. I’m not necessarily against it, but I guess since I never believed in him I don’t understand the benefit of the mystical fascination. She can have Santa Claus if she wants him. After all, she’s already invented her own version of the Tooth Fairy.
My question is this: if you have children, do you tell them there’s a Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or Easter Bunny? Did you have these characters as children? Will you be putting rocks under your pillows tonight to see if the Tooth Fairy brings you any money?