Tonight, when he was supposed to be sleeping, Miguel called down with a very important question that had to be answered before he could possibly be expected to close his eyes and sleep. I know...we probably shouldn't indulge him by answering questions at bedtime. Sometimes, though, I truly believe that he won't be able to sleep until his question is answered because his brain will just not let go of it. If we answer the one question, then he is usually satisfied and goes to sleep. The questions can be tricky. For every, "What does this word mean?" there is a "Why does George Bush believe that a war will make peace?" So, it was with great trepidation that I went up to his room tonight to face the challenge. There were no existential questions. No, tonight, I was stumped by the tooth fairy. Miguel: Mama, I have to know...is the tooth fairy real or are parents the tooth fairy?
Me (ready with my tried and true response): What do you think?
Miguel: I don't know. I want you to tell me the truth.
I began to panic as I considered how to proceed. Should I just tell him the truth or should I lie? I can't bear to lie to my children, so, I stalled.
Me (thinking myself quite clever): Well, what do your friends at school say?
Miguel: They all believe that the tooth fairy is real but let's say that 2,000 kids lost their teeth today...there is no way that the tooth fairy could fly all over the world, visiting kids in Asia, South America, Meso America and North America all in a single night. I don't think it is possible.
Me (shaking in the face of such logic): You haven't lost any teeth yet. How about we cross that bridge when we get to it?
Miguel (one hand suspended in mid air, fingers on the other hand walking towards it): Here is the bridge mama and here we are, standing right in front of the bridge.
Me: What if the tooth fairy isn't real? How would you feel about it?
Several seconds pass...
Miguel: How about you just tell me once I have all of my adult teeth?
Me: I think that sounds like a very good idea.
He knows. I know he knows. I guess neither of us were ready to give up the charade just yet.