keeping the magic of the tooth fairy

“Mom, I have something very sad to tell you…” my pixilated daughter says over Skype. She hangs her head down with a half gasp, unsure of how to speak it. Her curls fall across her cheek and I can see the little dark gap where her bottom eye tooth used to be. It’s a little bloody. It’s a little more painful than the others.

“What, honey? You can tell me.”

“I…I don’t believe in fairies anymore.”images

Her voice breaks with emotion, like she’s betraying the unseen kingdom, causing a Tinkerbell to die. I hum and nod my head, waiting for her to continue.

“I don’t believe in fairies and that includes the tooth fairy.”


“I suppose I am going to have to consider whether the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real too, but I don’t want to lose all my magic at once.”

We sit for a moment in silence. She sighs heavily. I am a little gutted by her last sentence and am unsure how to comfort her and yet acknowledge her decision to accept the fact that it was Daddy who put a toonie under her pillow. I am also struck by the fact she used “have to consider” in such an adult measured way. My mind races to think of what my sister has rehearsed to say to her eldest daughter when the time comes. It was really smart! But what was it?! I try to remember what Anita said, what any terrific parent said…my mind is blank.

“I did ask Daddy if Santa Claus was real…and he said ‘You don’t want to know’.”

I know what Daddy said, he gently asked, “Do you want to know?” And her retelling is telling.

She sighs again, resigned. “I suppose I do have the chromosomes.”

This sentence surprises me. “Chromosomes?”images-1

Nora continues, “Chromosomes are magic. How they all go together to create a person. To create me. My lungs, my heart, my brain. It’s magic. And sometimes the magic doesn’t work. Like when Stella died.”

I nod and stare into her big sad green eyes still fuzzy from the poor connection. She continues, rolling them upwards to think, my eight year old philosopher.

“And I still have rock magic. Rocks can come from volcanos and volcanos somehow erupt and that’s magical.”


“Dad and I watch nature shows.”

I smile, imagining her Dad explaining the magic of life to her through science. I am pleased to hear of this tender intelligent approach.

“Well, I still believe in fairies.” I blurt. I surprise myself! Why did I say that?! Now what do I do?!

Nora gasps, curious, but cautious. My mind is racing. What sort of irresponsible mother tells her daughter, after she’s had her revelation, to still believe in fairies?! I don’t know. I just know there is something in me that believes in magic – just a little bit – in something I could consider a fairy. I believe in dimensions beyond my ken. I believe one should never say never. I believe, first and foremost, in metaphor.

“What is a fairy, Nora? To me a fairy is a burst of goodness. A bundled bit of energy that is full of mischief. It is some living beautiful energy that is out of our control and makes flowers open and rain fall and dew drops glisten. Fairies live in the centre of flowers, under mushrooms. Fairies are generosity. Unexpected little kindnesses and random gorgeousness that has no reason to be there other than to be enjoyed. Now maybe these fairies aren’t actually little creatures that look like humans and have wings – in fact – I doubt they are. But I do believe there are bursts of goodness. I do believe there is something magical in the centre of a flower. It’s not that parents mean to lie to their children. It’s just that when they are little, it’s harder to explain chromosomes. It’s harder to explain why a flower opens. So, we put a face on it. We say it’s a fairy. And I definitely believe in angels. And really, they’re just sort of bigger fairies. All major religions have this idea of angels. And maybe they don’t look like humans with curly blonde hair all naked with great abs and huge white wings…images-3

She giggles…

“But I know for sure good things happen that I don’t deserve. I know for sure there are times when I just narrowly avoid a car accident or something like that and I feel someone or something is watching over me. I do believe there is positive energy out there that I can tap into or not. We call it a million different things. Why not call it an angel? And I don’t even care if it’s something that is just an extension of my own soul and its connection to God. Maybe it’s like my spirit has these long whiskers, like a cat, and even though my brain can’t tell where the danger is, my whiskers can. Maybe that’s what an angel is- a soul whisker!”

I lost her on this one – I think I even lost myself.

“A soul whisker, Mom?”

“Never mind. I mean, it’s not that these things aren’t real, it’s that they are metaphors to help us understand stuff that is so far beyond our understanding.”

“Love is magic.” says Nora. “And that’s a big thing to understand.”


She smiles, finally. She whispers, putting her dear little face up so close I can only see her eyes, “I guess I have lots of magic.”

“Yes, you do, my dear little one. Yes you do.”images-2

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  1. Lynne

    Beautiful! Just Beautiful!

  2. Leah

    I love this!!! thank you!!!!!!

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