Yesterday, our household lost a family member. Her name was Taniqua and she was the tooth fairy. This past Christmas Santa died and the Easter bunny didn’t even show up this year. 

I’m heartbroken because I think this is the death of innocence and make-believe in our family. 

Around Christmas I began to suspect the youngest two kids knew the jig was up with Santa. On Christmas Eve I dutifully went through the routine of cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. I answered, with all the Christmas patience I could muster, surprisingly difficult questions such as how does Santa fit down the chimney in our house if we don’t have a chimney and how do you know reindeer really like carrots and should we leave Santa some baby corn because that’s better for you anyway and we have gas fireplaces now, so how does that work. I tucked in both daughters for a cold winter’s night. Aware of the work ahead of me, I groaned under the weight of pre-Christmas morning tasks. Dispose of Eat the cookies and drink the milk. Chomp on the carrots to look like reindeer teeth marks (um, difficult). Leave a path of crumbs from the plate, stretching across the living room (um, disgusting), out to the deck (aka Santa’s landing pad, because where else?). Make snow footprints on deck to look like Santa and get pissed off when husband declines to do this completely manly chore (um, freezing). Fill stockings and try to remember which kids have which unlabeled presents. Curse at your inability to properly tag each stocking gift and pat yourself on the back for buying less this year.  locate second bag of gifts at the last minute. Put out stockings and take picture. Collapse into bed. Roll out of bed 10 minutes later to make cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning when the daughters get you up at the butt-crack of dawn. Love the magic of Christmas and thank Jesus for it, illegally. 

note: My husband and I have totally disagreed on the make-believe people idea from the beginning. And, when I say beginning, I mean in high school when we were together the first time and were only going to have one child who would be named Quest Michael. < not my choice of name, FYI. You are welcome, oh two oldest sons not of my loins. 

So, running down the list of Christmas Eve to-do’s as I tucked in the 5th grade daughter, I scarcely even heard the fateful news she bestowed upon me. Mom, I know you are Santa

You guys, can I just say this? I. Was. Devastated. (I may have yelled at the former spouse for spilling the beans and pouted until New Years Eve.)

It’s nearly June now. The daughters were away for Easter, so we got a break on the bunny action. This is the first tooth lost by 2nd grader since the Santa debacle, of which she was suspicious because she’s that kid. A few years ago when we were starting down the journey of lost teeth (um, gross) oldest daughter asked Mommy, where do the teeth go? 

Ok, look people. I’m not that creative. I can’t make up stories on the fly (or not) with interesting plot twists and fantasy characters. I thought to myself, my drawer, but that would be a dream killer, so I made up our own personal tooth fairy. 

Taniqua the Tooth Fairy lived in Brazil and had beautiful onyx-colored skin (because Brazil is hot and people tan down there, I explained). You see this is going downhill fast, right? She was our tooth fairy but we could not reveal her name lest the other kids find out and she gets busier, which would possibly prevent her from visiting us in a timely manner. Meaning, if she’s too busy she won’t leave as much cash. Money talks, peeps. 

In answer to where do the teeth go I dramatically looked around the room and said, shhhh. All ears now, because mom was going to tell us a secret. I told them of the magic forest deep in the Amazon in Brazil. (Is the Amazon in Brazil? I guess we’ll find out in middle school if I was right or not.) This is where Taniqua plants the teeth, which grow into toothbrush trees. 

That’s right, gentle reader, toothbrush freakin’ trees! Bada bing, bada boom. 

For the past five years I’ve been completely proud of myself for this lie creative storytelling. And then last night as I was tucking in 2nd grader, she informs me the note to the tooth fairy was on her dresser with her recently excavated canine, but I COULD NOT READ IT. Now I see why. 
Maddy killed the last remaining vestiges of imagination and make-believe last night and no one is more upset than I. I admitted to the 5th grade daughter at Christmas my dirty little secret about Santa. I still kinda believe. Like, if dad and I totally space out on Christmas, someone will take over, right? When I see the Santa cam on the 10-o’clock news or the Santa tracker via NORAD, there’s a little piece of me that wants to look up into the night sky to see if I can spot the trail of his sleigh. Maybe it’s because when I was about 8 years old I was convinced I heard Santa’s sleigh and reindeer hooves on the roof over my bedroom. 

So, if the girls don’t believe does that mean I can’t anymore, too? Is this the end of our innocence and ability to believe in things that are beyond our reach? Things that are just a little bit crazy but maybe, just maybe, could happen?