Sunday, February 11, 2007

Little Lies

I told a lie to my daughter. An elaborate one … with props and everything! See, her loose tooth finally popped out on Saturday morning. `Saturday afternoon, we put the tooth in an envelope and readied it beneath her pillow for You-Know-Who. Saturday soon faded into Sunday and my daughter still had the tooth.

“Mama! The Tooth Fairy didn’t come!” she called from her bed.

“She didn’t?!” I called back, feigning shock and cringing at myself. “Let me call her.”

Yep. I said it: Let me call the Tooth Fairy.

The lie starts here, people.

The next morning, beneath her pillow, my daughter found a handwritten note card from the Tooth Fairy explaining that she missed our house because she had gone to bed with a horrible cold. “Thanks for the tooth!”

What? The tooth fairy couldn’t have a little chest congestion?

Hey, I don’t even feel bad. I know that honesty is the best policy blah blah blah but not at the price of telling a 5 year old that the Tooth Fairy really fell asleep in the living room sipping whiskey, tooling around on Myspace and watching Law & Order.

Not a chance. And I’ll kill again! I don’t consider them lies, I guess is the thing. They’re more like placeholders until the time comes to smudge their Disney outlooks with streaks of grimy truths: like the deal about Santa; that our sickly, pound-bound cat did not head off on an adventure to find his long-lost family; swimming pools do not have pee-detecting dyes; that looks, sadly, will always matter in this culture; and, yes, the Tooth Fairy is merely a tag-team of overly anxious parents who will fumble over the easy things every now and again.

And when I replace those “liberties” with facts they’ll be ready to digest, I’ll tell them how I only bent the truth because I loved them so much.

No lie.