Children are the victim of their parents stories. Whether it is Father Christmas or the tooth fairy, we will believe anything that our parents tell us. After all, they are our parents!
I think it’s nice. When I was a child, of course I believed in Father Christmas; we left the carrot and the minced pie out on Christmas Eve, and were always astounded when the carrot was nibbled and the minced pie half eaten (we didn’t consider the logistics of such a duty; surely father Christmas couldn’t eat half of every however many billion minced pies left out by children all over the world?!). What magic!
But I also had an undying belief in the tooth fairy. And it was thanks to a cleverly crafted story by my parents and grandparents. I staunchly stood by the fact that the tooth fairy existed at school when mocked by my peers, until one day after being offered money to dust the bookcases in the living room; I found a pot of teeth. Eew. My mother’s nostalgia had been her failing. It would also prove her downfall with my sister’s belief in the fairy too; on a rather heated argument between two warring sisters I told her Mary didn’t exist. My proof was leading her kicking and screaming to the pot, and showing her her manky old milk teeth. Dream shattered.
Back to my fairy. My fairy was called Mary (predictable? How dare you) and she lived in the shed at the end of my granddads garden. I often checked to see if he had left it unlocked, in fear that Mary may become locked in and not be able to give me my tooth money, or in further worry that she might get locked out and die of cold (that coastal wind can get dead chilly in winter!)
Mary had a duty; when she wasn’t collecting children’s teeth and leaving them twenty pence pieces under their pillow (I know kids, TWENTY PENCE. Apparently inflation has caused you to get at least a two pound coin nowadays…) she was responsible for the turning off and turning on of the lap in my grandmother’s sitting room. I now know that automatic timers on lamps are a brilliant invention and a great addition to the tooth fairy myth, but at the time I thought she was the most fabulous creature on earth. At times, when watching the TV at my grannies, my dad would say “Laura, did you see that twinkle? I think it was Mary!” and I’d go off looking for said made up twinkle.
The best thing about Mary (my mother) was that she used to write me letters. I never twigged, as it wasn’t my mum’s writing (years later I cottoned on that if I write all my letters starting at the wrong place, I can totally do the Mary handwriting!) and it was far too clever to be my mum, after all, all the letters were four line rhyming poems!
They would go along these lines:
I hear you lost a tooth today
I had to fly quite a long way
To find it underneath your head
And replace it with a coin instead!
Honestly, for all that it was a lie, it was the most fantastically crafted elaboration of truth EVER. And I so wanted to believe that she existed and lived in the shed at the bottom of the garden. When I have children I will resurrect Mary, and her spirit will live on.