Feelings Over Facts: Don’t Tell Me the Tooth Fairy Isn’t Real

The catastrophic risk of holding too tightly to our beliefs

Robin Konie


Simple line drawing of a brain inside of a head. Background is blue with light blue lines.
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Never before had I felt so betrayed. And by my own father? It was unimaginable.

“I’m so sorry,” Dad said. “I just forgot. It was an accident.”

The tears started welling up inside my eyes as he tried to explain what happened. My big (and excessively loud) extended family was enjoying a beautiful summer evening at my grandparents’ house. More than a dozen kids under the age of eight were running around the huge backyard while the adults chatted nearby.

I looked over at the large garbage bin that sat next to the picnic table. It was overflowing with plates, napkins, and empty soda bottles.

And somewhere in that pile, buried deep beneath it all, was my tooth.

“You threw it away!?” I exclaimed.

My six-year-old heart was racing as I tried to calculate what this news meant. Up until about thirty seconds ago, I thought I was on the fast track to some easy cash. While it had been loose for a while, my stubborn front tooth just wouldn’t come out. For months I had watched my friends as they showed off their tooth money. Now it was finally my turn.

Dad helped me pull it out and then wrapped the tooth carefully in a napkin that he put in his pocket for safekeeping. I skipped off to play with my cousins, beaming with pride and anticipation of what was to come.

The Tooth Fairy was coming to my house. Tonight.

But sometime during the next hour, the chaos of the evening overwhelmed my dad. And without thinking, he tossed the napkin in the garbage — my tooth along with it.

More than thirty years later (with kids of my own), I know how awful he must have felt. But at that moment, he was a traitor. The anger, sadness, and disappointment were like a heavy brick inside my chest.

Dad apologized profusely. He told me it would be okay. But I didn’t believe him. I mean, how could I?

Up to that point, I had been taught two great truths about teeth. First, there is a tiny lady with wings who has a tooth obsession so big that she spends her nights…



Robin Konie

Author & Freelance Editor. Making stuff up for forty years. robinkonie.com