Monday, May 7, 2012

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't look into those eyes and lie to him.

Let me start at the beginning.  When I was little I believed in Santa Claus.  My parents did elaborate 'Santa visits' complete with showing us the reindeer leaving our house when we returned from Christmas Eve at my grandparents.  When I was 7 years old my parents had friends over and we were sitting around the dinner table.  They mentioned something about their kids finding out or knowing that Santa Claus wasn't real.  I immediately felt vulnerable.  I remember that panicked feeling that something was wrong, the clear thought process of connecting the dots and suddenly understanding.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom.  My mom followed.  She asked if I was okay.  I responded affirmatively and held back my tears and disbelief.  From that moment on I was never really sure if I could believe what they told me.

I knew from the time my son was born that I would not be upholding the 'Santa Claus' tradition.  He would have an exquisitely planned Christmas full of traditions, surprises, and wonders.  But he would fully know who was responsible for these things (Mama and Dad); and that Saint Nicholas did exist a long time ago and gave gifts to poor children- which is where the character of Santa Claus came from.  He knows who hides the Easter eggs and baskets and that there is no Easter Bunny.

So, last night after I finished brushing his teeth when he sat in my lap and looked up at me with those big innocent eyes full of hope and asked me with a timid voice; knowing very well he was about to be disappointed but yet still hoping there was a possibility; "Mama, is there a tooth fairy?".  I just couldn't.  I couldn't look into those trusting eyes and lie to him.  I knew that my answer would crush him, but I just couldn't lie to those eyes. I explained to him that I was the tooth fairy.  That when the day came in which he lost a tooth, he would place it under his pillow at bed time and that I would take it out after he fell to sleep and place money in its stead.  He looked so disappointed.  He choked back the tears.  I tentatively asked if that was okay; if it is okay that I am the tooth fairy.  He answered "I wish there was a tooth fairy."  I didn't know what to say.  I said I would find out if there really is.

I want my babies to know that they can come to me and ask me any question they could possibly come up with and that I will answer them truthfully.  I want them to trust me and want to ask me the difficult questions.    I don't want to ever give them the impression that I would not answer them honestly even if it is not what they want to hear.  And so, if he asks again I will have to tell them what I know to be true.  I am sorry baby, but I am the tooth fairy.  However, my darling; I will never lie to you.  I will always tell you the truth and you can always come to me with any question knowing you will have whatever answer I can give to you.

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