This morning, before school started, a first occurred; my oldest, at the ripe old age of seven, lost his first tooth. Now, he knows all about the Tooth Fairy but due to the all-encompassing excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime event he insisted that we tell him the ins and outs of Tooth Fairy mythology all over again.
So while I listened to him retell me the process of trading teeth for money with the “fae wee folk”, as if I wasn’t one of the people who just told him how it happened ten minutes ago, I realized how often I have to lie to my children.
It’s not just about the little stuff like the Tooth Fairy/Easter bunny/Santa but some pretty serious things that make me feel a little guilty. Like when he of the missing tooth asked where the Tooth Fairy gets her money. I told him she’s magic and has access to all the money she wants. The truth is that he lost a tooth during a rice, beans and ramen noodle kind of week and the “Tooth Fairy’s money” is coming directly out of his piggy bank due to our lack of cash.
Yeah, that’s right.
And then there’s the lies that are told to protect the self-esteem. One of my hobbies is tying fishing flies. So of course the oldest watches and wants to tie too. I don’t want to stifle his creativity so I sometimes let him tie up what ever creations he can come-up with without any sort of instruction or interference on my part. They are all awful. I mean just terrible; balls of fluff and feathers and sparkly bits looped on to a hook at angles that are reminiscent of something you would to read about in a Lovecraft story.
“So Daddy, what do you think?”
“Oh… Wow! That’s… something all right!”
“Do you think it’ll catch a fish?”
“Will you take it on your next fishing trip and fish with it?”
“I’ll put it in your fly box for you!”
And so I go fishing, come back and the first question is if I caught fish on his fly. I can’t tell him the truth, which is if the thing even managed to stay together long enough to make it in the water the best we could hope for is that it would scare a fish to death. No, I tell him that not only his fly caught a fish but show him a picture of the fish it caught.
And so it goes, lie after lie, all the while trying to teach him how important telling the truth is…
Being a parent can be fucked-up sometimes.