When I was young, my father completely tricked me into believing the tooth fairy was a short, fat bald man. I was so scared. I wrote him notes every time I lost a tooth to let him know how much I loved him, and how he was my best friend in the whole world.
To make matters worse, my tooth fairy always left me foreign coins. I thought it was really cool at the time because none of the other kids got cool foreign coins for their COIN COLLECTION. Hell, I lost my teeth so early that none of the kids even knew who the tooth fairy was yet.
It wasn’t until the third grade that one of my friends came to school proudly showing off her gap tooth smile and a crisp two dollar bill, that I realized I was missing out spendable money. By that time, I had already lost nearly all my teeth, which added up to roughly 1 million star crunch cookies at ten cents a pop. ( My math has yet to improve.)
When I went home and confronted my father, he reminded me that I had a special tooth fairy. Mine wasn’t the conventional fluttering lady in a tutu and crown, wanting me to frivolously trade my tooth in for junk food. No mine was really invested in my future. He wanted me to have something I could cherish and hold on for years.
A few years later, when I learned that my tooth fairy was not, in fact; a short pudgy balding man- but was, in fact, a short, balding (yet thin) father, I was genuinely sad.
I’ll never forget that day. My dad took my cousin and I out to look at the bluebonnets. I had known my grandma was sick with cancer, but I hadn’t known exactly what that meant.
My dad wanted to take us out somewhere beautiful to let us know the truth about life. He told us that we were grown up enough to learn about adult things, and promised to tell us the truth about anything that we wanted to know. In one afternoon, I learned that the tooth fairy that I had written so many letters to, the Santa Clause that I waited eagerly for every Christmas morning, and the Easter bunny-that up until that point-I believed to be a giant man-sized bunny were all made up to enhance my imagination.
I also learned that people I loved could die.
Years after I learned the truth about about the tooth fairy, I still cherished those coins.
I would pull out my shell covered box with the felt bottom, purchased at one of our numerous family trips to Galveston, and gingerly handle the buffalo nickles; the dark silver Chinese coins with the square holes in them; the old Mexican pesos with the pointy edges… and they made me happy.
A few years ago, it crossed my mind that I hadn’t seen my coin collection in years. I called my father and asked him angrily what happened to him, accused him of taking them back. He let me know that he still had them, and that he would give them back to me when I wanted them. Pshhh. I know he wants them for himself, but I think I’m OK with that. It was his collection to begin with, after all.
I’m happy to have the memory of the magic of truly believing in something, even if in the end I was let down. I guess it’s part of growing up.
A few weeks ago, I had a similar experience. My boyfriend showed me a video of a gorilla in a Cadberry Commercial.
I was completely enthralled at the fact that a gorilla was able to learn how to play the drums. I talked about it for hours.
We went to visit some friends and I told them about it too.
When he finally felt bad that I was so completely fascinated that a GORILLA could play the DRUMS, he gently let me know that it was a computerized gorilla.
I was shattered.
But hey, it’s always fun to believe in something magical, if even for a short amount of time. I’m glad I’m that way. It makes life a little more exciting.