Preserving childhood magic in a time of COVID-19

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Exhibit A: The gap in Gavin Jensen’s teeth. Credit: CBS News

During a year full of questions from our children (“Will Santa still be able to visit me in coronaviruses season? What if he can’t go to anyone’s house, or near his reindeer?”), grown-ups around the world have understood that embracing science doesn’t mean abandoning the magic of childhood.

Dr. Anthony Fauci assured children that he had vaccinated Santa Claus against COVID-19.

Last spring, as she implemented nationwide restrictions that successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed issues that were troubling her youngest constituents: “You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” she said.

And just last month, in Prince George in western Canada, Vice Principal Shandee Whitehead faced a Tooth Fairy crisis when five-year-old Gavin Jensen lost his front tooth … twice.

“I don’t know if it fell backwards or forwards; we were looking for it when I was outside,” Jensen said.

“When I went into the classroom, he was actually quite upset,” Whitehead said. “We looked on the ceiling, we looked on the ground, we looked left, we looked right.”

Since the pandemic began, our kids have had to put up with a lot of change, which makes it more important than ever for them to know there are some things they can always take to the bank.

So, like Mary Poppins, Whitehead reached into her magical bag of tricks, and pulled out a form letter to the Tooth Fairy that a parent had given her two years earlier.

“I was confirming that it was actually lost,” Whitehead explained.


She wrote, on official school stationery:

“Despite the heroic efforts of a fearless search team, we were unable to recover [the tooth]. As a trained Vice Principal and hobby dentist, I can verify that there is definitely a gap in Gavin’s teeth that was not there this morning when he came in. Please accept this letter as official verification of a lost tooth, and provide the standard monetary exchange rate you normally use for a real tooth.”

When I woke up in the morning, the Tooth Fairy actually did came!” Jensen said. “And I got the coin! It was a golden and silver one!”

Whitehead ended her letter with a P.S.:

“I am still waiting for the money for my wisdom teeth from 2000. Please pay as soon as possible. I have bills to pay.”

“I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and I didn’t get anything!” she said.

A sweet reminder that in keeping magic alive for our children, we’re also keeping it alive for ourselves.

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