True Believer

I lied tonight. Of course, it’s nothing new. I’ve been lying to Gracie for the past 2,580 days. Only this time I tried to tell her the truth and it’s now that she thinks I’m lying for the first time.

Today she brought home a book on UFOs. Apparently today was conspiracy day at her school. And with the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Elvis and the faked moon landing to choose from, she chose UFOs. On the first page of the book it poses the question “are we alone”. Page two talks about UFOs in history (apparently they had something to do with the renaissance). By page three, the existence of UFOs is all but settled as they move on to more concrete tasks such as “identifying UFOs”, “how to report UFOs”, and what the government is hiding. And Gracie believes it all.

She asked me if I’m a believer. I told her I wasn’t. She asked for the proof. I had nothing to offer. “Do you see one outside the window,” I replied. She shook her head. “Dad, if you can’t explain it, it must be true,” she said. I guess I can’t argue with that kind of logic.

The same must be true with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I can’t explain it, so it must be true. Still I can’t help but feel guilty for inciting the propaganda that she believes. After all, if yesterday it was the Tooth Fairy and today it’s UFOs, what could be next? Will she one day believe in a one-footed snorkel monster? (Those of you living in Michigan may have already heard the tales of this beast bouncing from mobile home to mobile home. To those that haven’t, look it up. I can’t explain it, so it must be true.) Either way, I decided to come clean. It had to happen sometime. “You know, there’s really no such thing as a Tooth Fairy,” I said, ready for the tears. This was hardly the day to admit to something as grievous as this. After all, Gracie lost yet another tooth during breakfast and didn’t realize it until after she swallowed her final bite of eggs – tooth and all. But I guess when you have as few of teeth as she now has with her jack-o-lantern smile, you’re bound to skip the whole chewing thing. So going to bed last night she expected to wake up a gold dollar coin richer as she reached under her pillow. Unfortunately, arriving home late from our book trip to Washington, DC, the “Tooth Fairies” were too tired to remember and instead fell asleep on the bed fully clothed. And when the disappointment set in this morning at 5:30am, Brooke and I were left to provide excuses. “Maybe the Tooth Fairy forgot – after all, you got home really late,” Brooke offered. “Maybe the Tooth Fairy was waiting for you to find it first. Did you look for it when you went to the bathroom?” I suggested. Brooke jabbed me in the ribs, fully aware of who would have to dig for the tooth when I went off to work. But in the end, it was Brooke’s excuse that Gracie believed. Of course it didn’t stop her from looking.

So when I suggested that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and perhaps that was the reason she didn’t get a coin this morning, Gracie took a moment to contemplate. “But Dad, if the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, who paid for all the other teeth,” she asked. “Maybe I did,” I replied, giving myself an escape plan by inserting a “maybe”. “No, Dad, after all, you don’t have gold coins. And besides, if you were the Tooth Fairy, you’d never give me a dollar. You’d probably just give me a penny.”

So maybe she isn’t quite as gullible as I thought. Logical yes – correct, no. But in the end, it makes sense to Gracie. Only now it’s her and not I that believes. Still, maybe that’s the point. UFOs, Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy – perhaps the legend isn’t as important as the believers. And maybe, just maybe, a little idealism can go a long way. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of and what keeps Gracie young. And I’m just fine with that. If you can’t explain it, then it must be true.

2 Responses to “True Believer”

  1. Darla Creasey says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book, and it sure does make you stop and think. I just read read your input on the ufo and tooth fairy, I totally understand. I have a 14 year old son and a 4 year old daughter. You and your wife are amazing and very strong and I admire everything you two have done. Thanks for keeping me interested!!

  2. Harlene says:

    If you can’t explain it, then it must be true.

    It must be true…true to others and to ourselves. But we are blind to the wordly things that even the simpliest one we didnt notice.
    we are glad to have young ones to help us realized the small details of our life here on earth.