Today is a ranking day of sadness. There have been worse days, to be sure, but this is a bad one in its own right. Today I can see the beginning of the end of magic in my child's life, and it makes me want to cry.
Hannah lost a tooth this week. It's only the 5th one she's lost, so it's still an event for her. She told all her friends at school, and talked up her personal tooth fairy, Minty Mindy.
Keep in mind that Hannah is nine. So all her friends are nine. Do you remember being nine? It's about the time for questioning all the myths and fairy tales. I think that's normal. But my child has an Olympic-quality ability to suspend disbelief, and she got into an argument with her friends about whether her Tooth Fairy exists. Then she set about gathering evidence to prove that Minty Mindy is real.
She wrote Mindy a note expressing her incredulity at her friends' disbelief. She didn't ask for anything, she just wanted to express her solidarity with the Tooth Fairy.
Dear Minty Mindy,
Some girls at my school say you don't exist. What do you think about that? I think it's just insulting...
She goes on to instruct Minty Mindy as to the location of her tooth (inside a small wooden box), and to request she leave the box, please. She doesn't ask for sympathy, but rather offers it. She doesn't ask for a way to prove to her friends she is right, nor does she ask for any extreme measures of proof for herself. She doesn't need that, it seems. She doesn't even specifically ask for a response to her note, although she told me this morning she had written the note in hopes that Mindy would write a response. And Mindy did:
Thank you for believing in me for a little while longer. It's a funny thing about magic-- if you look at it too closely, it slips out of view. But it sure is fun, isn't it?
This morning Hannah was all set to take her note from the Tooth Fairy to school to prove to her friends that Minty Mindy is real. I had to do something. This sounded like a serious opportunity for embarrassment, and she's old enough that I'm afraid it might matter. I quickly consulted with my husband about whether we had to destroy her fantasy world before breakfast, and he suggested just a behavioral intervention. So we told her she can't bring the note to school, because, like baseball cards and birthday party invitations, it's too likely to cause distraction.
A temporary stay of execution for magic and make-believe is all I can offer. It was too traumatic for me to even think of raising the curtain on fantasy at 8:00am on a Tuesday; it's a giant domino effect of disappointment. With the Tooth Fairy goes the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, and I'm just not ready for that. I need to believe in fairies a little longer.
Clap louder, children.