I’m on my last child to be losing front teeth. I just played tooth fairy a few minutes ago, and my 10 year old had to help me out. “Jo, do you have any money?” –and I added an apology, “you don’t still believe in the Tooth Fairy do you? I’m so sorry to have to ask you…” She assured me she knew all about it, and happily handed over the money for her little brother.
The tooth went into a little plastic bag with a note, “June 24, 2013–L.’s front tooth,” to join the myriad of baby teeth hidden in secret places. I tucked a dollar bill by L’s head and felt a sudden sadness that soon I’ll be out of a job. I had the crazy thought that I wouldn’t give it up, that even when my children are grown and gray, I’d still collect their fallen old teeth and reward them with surprise treasures. Of course, it’s more likely that one of them will have to play tooth fairy to me when I’m old and worn out! Really, old folks deserve a Tooth Fairy, too, don’t you think?
When JJ was about five and lost one of her first teeth, I gave her my silver ring that I’d had since high school. It’s still in her treasure box. My oldest boy got a Bicentennial silver dollar once, a prized possession I’d had since I was little. See, this Tooth Fairy job is serious and sentimental business, my small way of telling my children that I cherish them. Oh, I’ll find other ways, this has just been “my thing.” I do have a fair amount of kids’ teeth to go, so I suppose I have time to figure out the next thing. Watch out, kids, if I’m still around when you’re 90!