Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fairy Tales

We have an innately cynical son; I mean that in the most endearing way possible.  It is not at all a shock as being cynical is quite possibly hereditary and runs deep on my DH's side.  Our son has never "believed."  Not that we pushed it, but early on, we gave up all hope of Santa, the Easter bunny, Leprechans, the Tooth Fairy, the Great Pumpkin, etc. By 3, he was already getting to the point where he was dangerously close to wrecking the wonder for other kids and I had to lay it out for him.
So one day, I pulled him aside and said, "Listen you jaded little punk (okay, maybe not my exact words but the gist), It is okay if you don't want to have a fun, magical little life, but by no means can you ruin it for someone else.  Here is the deal: You are right, Dad and I are the fairies, BUT if you so much as whisper this to another person, child or adult... if I so much as hear a murmur that you have mentioned this to someone else... the gravy train ends at that moment and instead of being a receiver of the presents, the candy, the cash... You will forever be part of the surprise and you will help me create the magic but receive none of it."
From that moment on, there was never another word from our logical son, rarely even to us except a sweet wink now and again; Rather than trying to constantly prove that it was all a fake, he sat on Santa's lap with a big smile, designed a leprechaun trap, and participated cheerfully in our annual Easter scavenger hunt.  He even enthusiastically helps orchestrate the magic.

On the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, our daughter exists in an entirely magical realm, mostly of her own accord and imagination.  We flew to Disney when she was 4 and for years after she swore that it resided in the clouds and moved around, the jet streams pointed the way.  She is constantly looking for Care Bears in the clouds.  She can talk to birds (honestly she is so good that sometimes I can't tell if it is her or the bird that is chirping).  One of her teachers said that she doesn't have rose color glasses, she has rose colored eye-balls; you can NEVER take them off like you could glasses, it is just her worldview.
At one point last winter, I heard the kids talking and one said to her, "Do you think that Santa is real?"
She replied, "Um Yeh! but I also believe my stuffed animals can talk so it's not really much of a stretch."
As you can imagine, I usually cut out the middle man and forget the Tooth Fairy entirely for my son.  I just hand him $2 and am done with it.  Before he lost his first tooth, he came home with a rundown of how much each of the local tooth fairies are paying (just so ours stays competitive).  He sticks his own tooth in the designated container, and it is SOOO boring, but he is logical and practical and has excellent instincts.  I guess in the long run, I am happy to be raising a man who doesn't blindly follow but questions and thinks.  

Love this - it hangs beside our bookshelves

My sweet little girl finally lost her first tooth.  She is the last person in 3rd grade to lose their first tooth (some already have braces!) and it has been the bane of her existence for years.  She has had a lot of time to dream up the Tooth Fairy and has written multiple versions of notes because she didn't want to get it wrong (it isn't every day that you get a chance to write to a real live fairy).

It was so fun to be magical for her.  I had found a hardcover Rainbow Magic Fairy Book with her name. I wrote a note from the Tooth Fairy and another note in her book from her personal fairy.  Her sweet eyes just lit up when she woke before 6am clutching the letter and the book in her hands.  The $2 made no difference to her (she gave one of the dollars to a friend who was sleeping over); she is already analyzing what to write to the fairy next, but not about wishes-- just about what it is like to be a fairy.

There is something refreshingly lovely about her choice to believe in the magical side of life.  Who doesn't want to believe that sweet little woodland fairies live in our backyard and that animals can talk and that the world is filled with enchantment and mystery?  I hope we never outgrow this and that I will get to embrace the magical side of life with her for a lot longer.

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” - CS Lewis

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
-G. K. Chesterton


  1. Awww! I come from the cynical world where your DS resides. But your DD inspires me to try to believe! Fairy worlds sound like lovely places to grow up. Beautifully written, as always!

  2. Thanks! and coming from you that encouragement is cherished. I love your writing. I look forward to every post.

    I would love to live in my DD's mind for just one day. It seems like a very happy place.

  3. That little DD of yours is one of a kind. I hope my DD and DS will be believers as well. The fairy world is so exciting and I look forward to many years of it!

  4. I'm sure they will Missy! Your kids are so sweet!
    I found a really well written letter for those people who need to break the news to their kids and fear it might be hard or fear their kids might feel betrayed. I thought it was really insightful--