SPOILER ALERT: This post should only be read by those calloused to the harsh realities of corporeal life who don’t suspend belief for flights of fancy and wonder. It may contain suggestions that confirm Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” but be a rude awakening for those under the age of 12.
I never knew there was such an observation as “National Tooth Fairy Day,” but I suppose the Tooth Fairy should have her own day too, if there is a “National Cookie Day” (Dec. 4), a Johnny Appleseed Day (Mar 11), and even a “Multiple Personality Day” (Mar 5).
What is this topic doing on a family history blog? Well, first of all, blame Thomas MacEntee and his wonderful “Geneabloggers” website that lists such things and transports me down memory lane when I really should be making a trip to Home Depot and the CPA. Secondly, this is the “Year of the Story” per many genealogy conferences and speakers, and telling a story about the Tooth Fairy is just one way that we can be remembered by that third generation from us that normally might only know our name, if even that. It is a way to help future generations connect to us.
I have kept a journal for our son about his life from the time before he was born- not entries every day, but just when I want to share something with him that I think he will enjoy knowing in his later years. I do hope that he reads all the volumes one day and shares them with his children. (I also hope that he and his descendants will be able to read cursive then. Cursive is already almost a foreign language to teens and twenty-somethings!) My sister has done the same for her son, though she is smart- and a good typist (keyboardist?)- so she has typed them for him.
When our son was in 4th or 5th grade, I was chauffeuring a mini-van load of Cub Scouts home from the bowling alley, where they got a back-of-the-lanes tour to learn all about how the mechanisms work, and then they got to bowl a few games to earn their Bowling Beltloop. We were stuck in traffic, and during a lull in the conversation, I heard one of the tired boys pipe up, “So, you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, do you?” My heart stopped for a moment, my mouth started to form words, but I held back as I saw in the rear-view mirror the panicked look in our son’s eyes. All the other boys had older siblings except for ours, so I was afraid to hear what would come next.
A rollicking discussion of preteen male bravado and smarts followed, with our son totally silent on the subject. The existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were debated hotly along with the Tooth Fairy, and the benefits of each, including what kind of swag was received and the quantity. Science intervened with these smart boys, and our son did chime in on the physics of some of these journeys. Somehow I held my tongue, knowing this was a rite of passage I was witnessing. I also knew that some of the boys had recently been believers, so it was interesting to see how they were processing the information. Being a parent was/is a wonderful psychological and sociological laboratory, and as a Scout leader, I got to witness all my book-learning in many ways. My fear and reactions were a part of this laboratory exercise as well.
The bottom line was that they decided that they believed in the Easter Bunny but NOT Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and we thankfully finally escaped the 5pm traffic jam. I later called each parent to relay the discussion, and then asked our son about what he thought. He told me that he thought the other boys were wrong- they thought they knew everything because they had big brothers. He had seen the Easter Bunny in his room one night, after all, and the Tooth Fairy too. (He did- he really talked to her, all sleepy-like. Somehow I do know that for sure…) I mentioned that one had to believe or those events would not happen. A mercenary nature blended with our son’s rich imagination, and the traditions continued at our house for some years.
Despite a much better knowledge of science and nature, the Easter Bunny still leaves tufts of his cottontail on the floor into our son’s bedroom these many years later, and gifts magically appear under our Christmas tree, although usually before Dec. 24. The annual Easter egg hunt usually reveals restaurant gift cards and dollar bills instead of toys and change, so I guess believing really can make things come true.
So “National Tooth Fairy day”??? Yes, let’s celebrate it and all the other crazy days with stories. Maybe they are meant to make us stop and reflect on how the everyday affects us throughout our life. Maybe they will evoke those sweet memories that should be shared with our children and their children.
I hope that those reading this, and the many more who will never venture to this blog, will write down their precious memories and stories told by their ancestors. It is such a sweet, rich legacy for our future!
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Image from Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 2/28/2014.
2) http://geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogging-events-week-28-february-7-march-2014. Accessed 2/14/2014.
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