There are a few things I think back upon, from when I was growing up, that I am envious of my parents. They didn't have to worry about buckling us up in the car, or gearing us up in pads and helmets to ride our bicycles. I understand we have all of this now for good reason, but it must have been so easy for them to send us out and play. Today we need to make sure they have on every bit of proper attire, and shimmy our way into the backseats to buckle them in and out, every time we make a stop. This got me to thinking how many other things we have just made absolutely more difficult for ourselves in terms of raising children.
When I grew up, my parents told me about Santa, and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. But they were simple stories - Santa was a big fat guy who lived in the North Pole and brought us presents at Christmas. We sent off ONE letter to him, never expecting an answer, just waiting for Christmas morning to see if he actually got it. He usually did. Sometimes, we would read stories about Frosty and Rudolph, and sing the songs ad nauseum, but that was the extent of my parent's involvement. Most of it had to do with my imagination and experience. I could have sworn that I heard reindeer hooves on our roof one year. Another time, I was extremely suspicious of a department store Santa, but my mom said, "Nope, that's him." Okay, done and done. I just believed her. The tooth fairy posed a huge mystery. All I knew about her was she was this little fairy who would come in while I was asleep, take my tooth and leave a quarter. I never even thought to ask my parents what her name was, or what she looked like. None of my friends knew, so I guessed that was just part of the mystery.
Today, however, I find myself creating fantastical stories to keep up with the advances in technology that seem to keep detailing these wonderful childhood fantasies. For instance, there is a website now that my daughter heard of from a friend in school that allows you to meet your own "personal" tooth fairy! Apparently, there is more than one. Each person has their own, and that fairy has a name. Madelyn's happens to be named Kiera, while Celia found out hers is Natalie. So when they decide to write their tooth fairies letters, and asks them if they know another tooth fairy, well you can imagine how delicately I have to address this. Not so much for them, but for me. Now I have to remember what I wrote to each as child as a particular fairy, and I have to research what the dang website says about how they collect the teeth and what they do with them after they take them. Oh, and not only that, I have to explain, in my very best fairy handwriting, why they only get a dollar, and Kaitlyn in school got a wii game. Really? I feel there should be some sort international parent organization that sets rules and limits on what each fantasy character can bring.
Don't even get me started with Christmas. I have to admit that I love our elf on the shelf - great addition to behavior modification. However, my children find it necessary to write to Buttons every...single....night. So now we not only have to remember to hide him before we go to bed, now we have to write them a letter answering their questions about Rudolf and who my (Buttons) favorite reindeer is, and if my other elf friends have really bad kids who are going to get coal. And what about the website that tracks Santa's progress on Christmas Eve? I know all of this is supposed to be in the spirit of the holiday, but is it? I really feel that instead of having my children believe in innocent holiday traditions, I am flat out lying to them. I am stacking my lies, piling one on top of the other. I'm afraid that my kids are not going to find out the truth from their friends at recess, but by me, either slipping on top of my gigantic pile of untruths, or one day admitting that I just can't handle the stress anymore! "Okay! I admit it! There is no Santa! Mommy just made up the whole story...I don't know why (sob, sob)...I...don't....know....whyyyyy!" Hopefully it won't end like this. With my husband's help and copious notes, we should be able to keep this going for another, oh gosh wait, is it 10 more years? Well, here's to the holidays, and keeping our children happy!