This morning my nine-year old daughter caught my wife red-handed in the act of replacing her lost tooth with the Tooth Fairy’s gift. Oops.
Blinded by the light, we told her the truth about the tooth fairy, which led to the truth about Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and the Easter eggs. All this time, it was us, only us, and a toy store.
She had to swallow the harsh removal of all the magical coating we put on childhood all in one long sentence on a cold morning, just days before Christmas.
For a second I swear I saw murder in her eyes. And then, maybe suicide. Or was it infinite sorrow? We talked, of course. We explained. We said they did exist, once upon a time. Just not anymore. And they were really good people. It was not entirely a lie, we said, more a story turned into a collective hallucination to help transitioning from being angels to being plain humans. No, we did not actually say that last point, I was just trying to sound smart. The fact is, I don’t really know why we do that. Out of habit I guess, or perhaps because…
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.
– Shirley Jackson (source)
Then, she picked herself up. Minutes later, her mouth full of Kellogg’s, she talked passionately about the gorillas she’s hoping to spawn in Zoocraft and quickly jumped to the computer.
I could not re-hash the no computer before school! rule this time and instead let her heal her bruised ego in the magical world of Minecraft.