“Mom, I was looking for chapstick and I found the tooth fairy notes.”
My heart sank.
For years my daughter has been losing teeth and leaving letters for the tooth fairy. With each tooth the magical world got bigger, more immersive, and more gripping.
In the early days the tooth fairy revealed her name as “Tiana” and in future notes she shared that she has a pet ant and is 736 years old. She shared about her hobbies and my daughter returned the favor by sharing her own stories and details. Each letter was a follow up to the last and an evolution of the friendship between a sweet little girl and her trusted personal fairy.
Her statement about finding the notes made my mind race. I tried to play it cool. The best answer I had was, “Oh you did? Hmmm.”
But my girl wasn’t playing games, “I want to know, are you my tooth fairy, Tiana?”
There was an intensely awkward pause between us.
At that moment I knew it was time. Her brow was furrowed and her face was so serious. So I did the only logical thing I could think to do. I did a little twirl, curtseyed, and said, “I’m so honored to be Tiana, your tooth fairy.”
The Truth About the Tooth Fairy
My girl knows. She is now aware that all the magic of the tooth fairy experience has in reality been a mom who loves her fiercely, deeply and immersively.
Sharing the source of the magic was harder than I would have imagined. I’m sitting here more sad than I would have expected. The quiet tears are proof of that unexpected emotion.
I think that a piece of this is me having to recognize my first born baby isn’t a baby. She is seeing the world more clearly – both for the beauty and the ugly. Some of it is exciting and some of it comes with growing pains for both her and for me. I’m also sitting in a place of reflection and realizing that 10 years does in fact go by faster than you think. How did it all become a blur?
Motherhood is the most bittersweet release and tonight I had to let go just a little bit more.
But, I didn’t go down without a fight. I refuse to let the imaginative magic dissolve into the atmosphere.
As we stood in our kitchen and chatted she started peppering me about all the logistics that have gone into the 10-year tooth fairy experience.
“But wait, what about the time I lost a tooth at Grandy’s house?”
“How did you come up with the name Tiana?”
“How did you write so small when you wrote the notes back to me?”
“How did you come up with a pet ant as the pet for my tooth fairy? Mom, you are so random!”
I let her ask. I answered. We laughed.
Then I looked her square in the eyes and said, “When you think about the magic that the tooth fairy represents, I want you to know that the magic was actually love all along. It was me loving you so much that I wanted to create an experience that delighted you, made you laugh, and helped you feel as special as you are.”
The Tooth Fairy will Fly Again!
It was beautiful. She got it. We hugged and I kissed her on top of her head – because for now she is still short enough that I can do so with ease.
I’m wrapping up that unexpected conversation certain that she gets it. She knows that Tiana is actually real – because I am Tiana and I love her wildly. My love for her allows the magic to continue long after the curtain is pulled back and the inner workings are revealed.
At that moment we made a deal. We now have an “awareness bubble” that we step into (we even drew the bubble in the air with our arms) and when we are in the bubble we will talk about the logical things in life. In the bubble we are aware of what some might call “real life.” When we are done with the conversation, the bubble goes away and we step back into the imaginative and immersive world that makes life fun and silly. I can’t wait for her to lose another tooth so Tiana can visit her – and delight her – again.
Often when I write blogs I have a bottom line or take away to share with you – a way to invite you to improve or live more intentionally. This narrative isn’t that. It is simply an invitation into the inner workings of my heart and the way I’ve been so blessed to love my daughter for 10 years now.
The Bittersweet Taste of Change
Life changes and people change – my daughter is changing – and I don’t always know what to do with that or how to feel about it. But I feel it deeply and intensely, actually. I feel it in a way that creates the heavy in my chest and the sting in my eyes. But then I feel it in ways that make me giggle, too.
I giggled today as I realized she now knows new levels of my love for her and she sees it differently. She sees how much I’ve poured into giving her a joyful experience. And she doesn’t just see it, she celebrates it with me – with gratitude for all the love I poured into her through the tooth fairy.
Is the tooth fairy real? Ours is very real. Her name is Tiana and her name is Mom.