Welcome back… 🙂
Earlier tonight I was on the phone with my sister, talking with her about how Miranda losing her first tooth today is making me think that Jack and I foolishly set the Tooth Fairy bar rather high with giving Ethan out-of-circulation coins and that we clearly weren’t thinking about how we would manage to continue that tradition with two more kids, and aren’t I lucky that she wants to wait to leave her tooth for the Tooth Fairy until Jack gets home in a week, and also I suspect Ethan knows we are the Tooth Fairy but doesn’t want to admit it, and blah blah blah.
I get off the phone and I hear Ethan’s door open and I think “Oh crap. He heard me.” He starts asking me if we remembered to rip off the last Countdown to Daddy coming home paper chain. I tell him yes and get back into bed.
Maybe he didn’t hear?
But then he is out of his room again, calls me to the stairwell, and says he’s got “a confession to make that will probably make you super angry, Mom.”
Ethan: “I did come out of my room to ask about the paper chain, but I had actually come out earlier and I heard you on the phone with Auntie Julie and I heard everything and I’m sorry.”
Me: “Well, that’s that, then. I’m sorry that you heard that. Please go back to bed.”
He turns to go.
Me: “Wait! If you blow this… if you breathe one hint of a word about this, you will crush the wonder of two five-year olds. It will be the grinchiest thing you could ever do.”
Him: “I know, Mom. I totally get it. I remember being so totally in awe and excited and I won’t ruin that for them, I promise.”
Me: “I hope you can stick to that promise. This may be the end of it for you, but it is still the very beginning for your siblings.””
Him: “Oh, don’t you worry, Mom. And I will probably have forgotten about this whole thing by the morning, anyway.”
Me: “Go to bed, Ethan.”
Him: “Okay, Mommy. I AM really sorry about this.”
Me: “Goodnight, Ethan.”
Him: “Goodnight, Mommy.” He starts to close his door, then pops his head back out and gives me a lop-sided, apologetic smile. “I love you, Mommy.”
Me: “I love you, too, Ethan.”
Twenty minutes later he comes back out, weeping uncontrollably. “I’m so sorry I snuck out of my room and eavesdropped on your phone call! I’m devastated that I will never experience that sense of wonderment again!”
I head up to him and assure him that I am not angry with him. Rather, I am frustrated with myself for slipping up and ruining things for him. I tuck him back into bed and explain to him that he may end up experiencing an even more fulfilling kind of joy by watching his siblings. We talk about that for a while, about how he can still enjoy the idea of the Tooth Fairy, even with knowing for sure now that she is not real — not in the way he previously believed.
And what followed was a mind-blowing hour and a half conversation between a forty-one-year old and her almost-ten-year-old son about Santa Claus, God, religion, faith, science, Martin Luther King, civil rights vs. religious tradition, and chess.
Me: “Holy cow, Ethan. It is so ridiculously after your bedtime. We need to end this conversation so you can go to sleep.”
Him: “Mom, this was the best conversation you and I have ever had ever, I think. It was amazing.”
Me: “Dude, I agree one-hundred percent. Next time, though, let’s aim to not start one of these kinds of conversations after lights out, or at least not on a school night.”
Him: “Okay. I love you. Okay.”
Me: “I love you, too.”