Gabriel stuck his hand in and pulled out a dollar. He smiled at first, but then quickly narrowed his eyes at me. Uh-oh. I couldn't be busted. I just couldn't.
"I know who the Tooth Fairy is, Mommy. It's your parents!" he said, triumphantly.
No, no, too young, too young! Too young to lose faith in the unknown!
"What?" I blurted. "Your parents? I don't think so. I wouldn't want that job. That job is too big. You know how many kids lose their teeth every day?"
"Yes, a lot. Parents are way too busy to take care of that. And I just remembered your brother kept yelling 'No! No!' in his sleep and I couldn't figure out why. He was obviously trying to redirect the Tooth Fairy to your room. Go put that in your piggy bank for safekeeping!"
Gabriel scurried off, almost believing me.
Five minutes later he and his brother were entrenched in a full-scale pillow fight back on my bed. Suddenly out of nowhere the other dollar appeared. How shocking. We both gasped.
"See! That's how big a rush she was in!" I said. "Not only did she go to the wrong room, but she dropped an extra dollar on her way out."
"Can I keep it?" Gabriel asked. "Dad would let me keep it, Mom. Dad would, I know he would!"
The dad card again, huh? First he's Braveheart, who could extract a bloody tooth with his bare hands, and now he's Mr. Generous too? Not that it's a competition, but would Daddy have been quick enough to save you from the jaws of cynicism? I think to myself, but dare not ask.
"Sure, honey," I say instead of any of the not awesome things I am thinking . "And let's go make you some vanilla French toast too, you know, to celebrate!"
"Really, Mom? Yay! On a weekday? Oh wow! You're the best!" He was totally serious.
And for just a moment, I believe him.
Originally published in the August 2011 issue of Parents magazine.