I’m not sure when it all began, but sometime around the “age of losing teeth” for my oldest, I had an idea to write notes from the tooth fairy along with the usual dollar or trinkets she received for each tooth. Ryan became Chloe’s fairy somehow, even though we took turns many nights for the sheer fact of, I don’t know because – parenting. It is so hard sometimes, and I guess I like to make it harder for some reason. The night of a lost tooth would find us scrambling up late at night writing left-handed notes on torn scraps of paper, sprinkling fairy dust or digging through drawers of old jewelry looking for something interesting the fairy could leave behind. Thus began our little fairy “dance” with our girls. (And this was pre-Pinterest!)
I’m not sure if Chloe ever believed the notes were from a real fairy. She has always been my highly intelligent, practical, rational, never-even-believed-in-Santa kind of child. She loves fairy tales, fables and whimsy, but she knows that in the end, it is just a story after-all. From the time she could talk (which was pretty much always) she knew Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny was really Ryan and I. She played along for a few years because it was fun, but that was all it ever was to her – a game.
In walks (runs), Girl #2 who cartwheels to the beat of an entirely different drummer, and I don’t even think there is technically a band. She makes her own music, in her own way. I am constantly amazed at the creativity, stubbornness, and love for life this girl has. She waited as patiently as a 4-year-old can wait while she watched her big sister lose many teeth, then receive gifts and hand written notes from her very own fairy. Cammie cried for hours one night because she added up the years she had left before she would lose a tooth and have a fairy. It was a few years too many, in her opinion and she let us have it. I obviously didn’t think through this whole “personal fairy thing” very well. Mom of the year award.
So, obviously I had to come up with something. Around this time, Cammie was having serious issues going to sleep, staying in her bed, and staying asleep. She was up and down all night and we woke up with her in our bed more often than not. I decided to be her “Sleeping Fairy.” If Cammie stayed in her bed all night or went to sleep without incident, then the sleeping fairy would visit her and write her notes of encouragement, bring candy, or leave her a small toy.
This was the holy grail for my spunky girl. She believes whole-heartedly in Santa and even more so in fairies. It didn’t always help the sleeping issues, but it got her on the right track and definitely created a bond between her and her fairy (me). While some 4th grade boys were trash talking the existence of Santa and the tooth fairy, my tiny 6 year-old (at the time) defended them with gusto. C.S. Lewis would be so proud. I’m sure she fully expected full-fledged fairy applause to erupt behind her when she finished her speech about the books she has read that prove their existence. (aka: fairy tales and pop-up fairy books.)
Tonight, after tucking Cammie in I reached under her pillow, feeling my hands around slowly as usual. My fingers touched something cold and I pulled out the treasures she left for her friend. I can’t remember the last time she got in our bed or woke up during the night, so these days I’m no longer her sleeping fairy. Sadly, her tooth fairy doesn’t visit as often, but we continue this dance that has captivated her heart for so many years. She will be turning 8 in November, and I have a feeling these fairy days are numbered. Part of me suspects that she just has to know by now that I am the one doing all of these things. I wonder if she has thought my writing looks strangely similar to her fairy’s Sanscrit (try as I may to make it look like a tiny creature attempting to write with a pen bigger than herself), which is not as easy as it sounds. Does she guess that I am her “Twinkles,” but just wants to feel the magic a little longer? I know it’s silly, but I just can’t let it end quite yet. Thankfully, for now I don’t have that problem because she leaves me something almost every night.
I don’t profess to know all that much about parenting. I may be totally setting her up for a future that will require countless therapy sessions about fairies visiting her in the night. All I know is that for the past four years when she finds “fairy dust” on her blankets and her little hands reach under her Wonder Woman pillow to find beaded “fairy” bracelets, a glass bottle stopper, and scrawled, misspelled notes, she jumps out of bed and runs to show her sister, her eyes lighting up with wonder and awe. She talks so fast in her excitement that we can hardly understand her endless fairy conjecture about Twinkles being a moon fairy, if she likes fireworks, how big she is, or how fast she can fly.
In these moments, when her gifts and love notes have been gracefully received and the love has been sweetly reciprocated, she knows she is loved, cherished, and her heart is being pursued. Someone took the time to show her how much she is treasured and that means everything. One of these days, when she’s fighting teenage angst or thinks her parents are crazy, I hope she will remember our fairy dance. Maybe the same childlike wonder and joy will flow back to her heart, knowing she had a mommy and daddy who loved her dearly and valued her enough to spend time doing things that made her heart so happy.
As my girls grow up, my prayer for them is that they will remember these sweet moments and be reminded not only of a parents deep love, but more importantly of their loving Savior who loves and adores them even more than all the fairies, centaurs or mermaids in the land. I want them to know that our God is a God who calls them His beloved, pursues them with a beautiful abandon and knows their every breath. The One, the Rescuer, the Grace-giver wants to live and love in the same kind of dance with them as the ones they knew from their childhood, the magical dance that started with love notes and fairy dust.