Who could be heartless enough to disturb such peaceful repose? He's adorable.
But of course, the phone rings. And rings again. Breakfast orders are called out. Dishes mysteriously left on counters overnight must be cleared away. The dishwasher has to be emptied before it can be loaded.
The backpack drill begins. Homework? Check. Permission slip? Check. Lunch money? Oops. I think there's some change in the drawer. The P.E. uniform is still in the dryer. Coffee beans don't grind themselves, do they?
"What," he asks groggily,"is all the commotion? Why is the phone ringing?"
We've been through this before. Once or twice, I almost told him. How everyone really gets out of the house in the morning. How the coffee is made. Then I couldn't bring myself to do it.
But it's time. All the other family myths have flown. We let Santa Claus go a couple of years ago. The Easter Bunny got his walking papers not much later. And just this year, the Tooth Fairy fell victim to a trap set by a skeptical 9-year-old.
He's 45. Still, I choose my words carefully. "Honey," I say gently, "the phone rings because childcare, violin lessons and after-school activities are juggled around constantly-changing schedules. The dishes clank because plates left out last night are in the way and breakfast and lunch have to be prepared before 7:30. The laundry commotion was because of the missing gym clothes. The paper shuffling was me emptying the kids' backpacks of dozens of multi-colored demands for immediate attention: Be sure to send this form back before yesterday!..."
I pause for a moment, before the coup de grace.
"It's just me," I say. "There's no such thing as household fairies."
Photo: ©2007 Rick McCawley Images