What happens when they start questioning the magic? 

The awful tooth …

  • Category
  • Written by
    Emily Tecklenburg, AKA “Gelato Mama”
  • Illustrated by
    Christine Georgiades

The Tooth Fairy really screws Santa over.

Let’s face it. The moment your kid starts to question a tiny fairy collecting teeth in the middle of the night in exchange for currency is the same moment St. Nicholas himself comes into closer examination. And I’m sorry, but the Tooth Fairy should feel really bad about that. Think of the longevity Santa could have if we didn’t have to pretend the Tooth Fairy was a thing.

This dwindling childhood magic hit me hard recently when my daughter lost another cavity-ridden tooth. As far as I was concerned, enough money had already been sunk into that tooth, and she certainly was not deserving of payment for it.

Yet she still excitedly detailed the moment-to-moment extraction of said tooth and then tentatively began to cross-examine me in regard to its reward. Her eyes grilled me silently from the passenger side of the car, and I began to sweat a little as she questioned the authenticity of the tooth’s banker.

I slowed to a stop, and she pulled my face to hers and looked me square in the eye and said, “Mama, some people at school say Santa isn’t real. I say he is, but some people say no. He’s real, right? Tell me the truth. Tell me the truth, Mom.”

What followed was not some sort of beautiful explanation about the spirit of the season and the essence of Santa living on inside us and how giving is always better than receiving. Nope. Not at all.

What followed was more of a stuttering, half-assed, caught-off-guard response of: “Yeah … I mean … totally … like … what do you believe? Who cares about those other (jerky, keep-your-mouth-shut) kids?” You do you, daughter.

And then, thank God, the light turned green and I diverted her attention by turning on “Party In the U.S.A.,” and we sang it loud and proud with the windows down, just as Miley intended.

I know my son slipped silently from believer to non-believer. He never asked me about it, and I didn’t want to confront it with the hopes of another year of magic on the line. But my daughter questioning this so boldly, and me so ungraciously failing at an answer … well, needless to say, I blame the Tooth Fairy.

Regardless of who believes what, I know the children will discover that there is always magic crackling in the air this time of year. Towering Christmas trees, sparkling light displays, laughter with friends, a chill in the air and generous hearts are what rule December. And they will learn the lesson we all eventually do: Extraordinary magic lies within the ordinary.

That is the truth, daughter. Kris Kringle told me so.