Sometimes I think about what the soundtrack of my parenting. I admit that some days it would be that 54-40 hit, She Lies To Me. I always swore that I would never lie to my children. My parents lied to us a lot. My sister’s Halloween candy went missing, consumed by the dog (who carefully unwrapped each piece, despite having no thumbs). We ate soup that was allegedly chicken noodle but turned out to be rabbit. Finally, my mother was called down to the school because my youngest sister shared that she was purchased at Kmart for $19.95. If she was adopted, we should have told her more kindly, the teacher admonished. She was not adopted, my step-dad just liked to mess with us. I was determined to be a “better” parent.
Fast forward to the day my child revealed he saved the baby teeth my mother paid him for instead of disposing of them. He had a small, creepy collection of baby teeth for when he was low on cash. At 8 pm, he announced he was leaving one for the Tooth Fairy and went to bed. I rummaged through my purse only to remember how I spent the last of my coins at the vending machine. I would not allow two of us to be disappointed by a stale vending machine cookie. I remembered triumphantly that I had a $5 Tim Horton’s gift card stowed in my wallet (for emergencies, naturally). I deposited it swiftly beneath his pillow. In the morning, he was incredulous at this unorthodox offering. It was a little white lie, to keep him believing in magic.
Once, I told a rather selfish lie. We were on a road trip staying at a hotel. There was a magnificently large bedroom, with crisp bedding on a king sized bed and fancy doors closed it off from the living room. Of course, he wanted to sleep with me. After many hours cramped in a car, that was the absolute last thing I wanted, so I shared with him the exciting secret of our temporary accommodations. The sofa is a “Transformer” bed! It transforms from sofa to bed like the Autobots and Decepticons transform into whatever it is they transform into (I don’t know, I don’t really watch that show, but he does.) It would be far better for him to enjoy this novelty than to settle for sharing the vast acreage of the boring bed with me. He agreed and I wasn’t sorry in the slightest.
I’m sure my parents were not sorry about eating the Halloween candy either. The rabbit soup thing was disturbing and I don’t know why my sister was told we bought her for $19.95—she’s definitely worth more than that! I enjoyed the giant bed and I’m glad he believed that the Tooth Fairy likes a double double like the rest of us. I just hope that when my son is grown, he doesn’t remember his mother by that song, “She Lies to Me.”