Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harsh Reality

I DO intend to blog more than once every month... but alas, I've been failing at that task. Here is a Prose piece I recently wrote which is appearing in the December 2008 issue of Parent:Wise Austin magazine. This is the original piece, the one in the magazine has been touched-up by editor extraordinaire, Kim Pleticha. The magazine also features a great illustration by the insanely talented Aaron Romo, Illustrator-at-Large for P:WA. - Nisa

Harsh Reality:

“It took some doing, but I finally yanked that pesky toof out!” My daughter plops a giant, bloody molar into my hands and throws herself down next to me on the couch. She grins from ear to ear, pink toilet paper shoved into the left side of her smile.

“Wow! Cool…” I mock enthusiasm for the thing now sitting lop-sided and bloody in my hand.

Who would have thought when that wondrous first tooth came through, on Mother’s Day, of all days that after nine years and with two kids that teeth would finally bore me? Having a bloody bone bit plunked into my hand time and again, just because I am the Mom, well… that’s the kind of thing that is never boring and always disgusting. Makes me wonder what they would do should a toe suddenly fall off…

“I guess you’ll have more tooth-fairy money for the weekend, huh?”

The bloody grin becomes very serious, and my nine-year-old confesses: “Um, Mom – about that… see I don’t think the tooth-fairy is, you know, real and stuff.” She winces as she says it, and so do I, but the difference is my experienced poker face reveals no guilt, no shock, and no disappointment, though I’m feeling them all in spades.

“Oh?” I ask, a little too curiously, I think it gives me away.

“Yeah…” she’s obviously hiding something.

“Why is that, Honey? Did someone at school say something?” I could just strangle that one girl with the teenage older sister who is always telling the kids what is what!

“Yes, but also, I did a test.” (My logician) “See, I lost a tooth last week and didn’t tell you.” (I’m nodding, still revealing no shock at this sneaky girl) “And the tooth-fairy never came, so now I don’t believe in her.”

“But… what about all those times she DID come… don’t those count?”

“Of course, it felt good to think about earning money for my lost teeth.” (She is her father) “But really, thinking about some sort of human-bug thingy flying around my room is kinda creepy. And I have figured out that it was you coming in and putting money under my pillow.”

She has a dead-pan face. She’s always been older than her years. She once told me that she sometimes felt that she was the Mom and I was the daughter. Right now, I’d like to trade, because while she is handling this with such poise, I’m a blubbering gelatinous mass inside, ready to shake her back into innocence.

“Hmmm, so that’s it then? You just don’t believe?” She nods her head. “Okay, but just so you know, I confess to nothing – oh, and if you don’t believe in the tooth-fairy, then she doesn’t believe in you, which means no more money.” The wise one bites her bottom lip a bit.

“Okay, I guess that makes sense.” She really IS growing up.

“And I want all the tooth-fairy money you HAVE earned back!” I say, poking her in the ribs.

“MOM!” she sing-songs, letting me know I’m being ridiculous. Then she grabs my face, “Mom, you seem sad, do you need a hug?”

As we are squeezing it out, my husband comes in. “Hey girls, what are you two talking about?”

“Oh,” says my daughter, in a completely casual way, “I was just telling Mom that I’m too old to believe in the tooth-fairy.” My wonderful man looks at her, then me, then back to her.

“Okay – well… I guess you have to grow-up sometime.” He checks my face once more.

“And just so both of you know,” the girl stands to make a big announcement, “I know all about Santa Claus, too – and don’t worry, I won’t ruin it for my brother.”

I mock a huge faint into the couch with a loud squeal of disbelief!

“Are you happy now?” Her Daddy hugs her with tiny tears in his own eyes, “You’ve just killed your Mother.”