Now that my children are teenagers we are well past the ages of believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. All the baby teeth are gone so the Tooth Fairy is no longer an option. However there is still one mystical figure they both still believe in....the Dish Fairy.
I know this to be true because whenever either of them cooks anything they leave the pots and pans in the sink and wait for the Dish Fairy to make them magically disappear. Cookie sheets are their favorite thing to leave for the Fairy. Always good for her to find a sink full of cookie sheets covered with dried pizza sauce.
Knowing that they adjusted very well after they found out about Santa I thought it might be time to explain that the Dish Fairy isn't real either. After all I don't want them to move out and think she had abandoned them.
So I did the only thing I could do. I explained that the Dish Fairy was really just me and as much as I loved them it was time for them to wash their own pans. I explained in great detail the process of rinsing and washing as soon as possible after usage. I showed them the handy dandy scrubber that could make all the pans shine. I went on to explain that the Dish Fairy that they had become so attached to was really just me and I was becoming a tad bit bitter.
To further make my point I shared with them the story about how the ATM Fairy might one day disappear as well if they didn't take to the pan washing idea. This seemed to get their attention and pan washing was looking better and better.
It was tough love but better they know now than to one day be told by their roommates or spouses.
We spend all those childhood years trying to make them believe that all the world is magic and then when they are teenagers we have to undo all the magic making and start the "real world" lectures.
It is bittersweet and no one wishes more than me that there was a Dish Fairy. But if I come home one more time to a sink full of pans the Dish Fairy dream is not the only dream that will be shattered in the Eller household.