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Every Life is a Story
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Monday, April 9, 2007

Tooth Fairy

If by chance you are reading this and you are a very young person, I am going to recommend that you stop reading right now. Because I'm going to reveal the truth about something you might not be ready for.

Don't say I didn't warn you....

I am the Tooth Fairy. I am also Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and the Leprechaun that comes on Saint Patrick's Day to turn our milk green. And if I do say so myself, I am fabulous at all of those jobs. Except for one. I am the worst tooth fairy in the history of all tooth fairies.

I was so excited when my oldest got a loose tooth. I was going to begin my role as tooth fairy, and I was going to be GREAT! I made her a little tooth pillow, with a pocket sewn on it to put the tooth, and cute ribbons to tie the pocket closed. I even went to the bank and had a small stash of the gold dollars to trade for the future teeth - MY tooth fairy only gave me quarters. I was giving a DOLLAR. When the tooth finally came out, I told my daughter all about the tooth fairy and how to put the tooth in her pillow that night.

My moment arrived. Just before I went to bed, I grabbed one of my gold dollars, and prepared to be the tooth fairy. I entered my daughter's dark bedroom. I hadn't thought to make her clean her room. The floor was covered with toys. What's more, her bed was in the middle of the room, and she'd put that tooth pillow on the far side of the bed. I had to go all the way around her bed to get to the tooth, stepping and tripping on toys the entire way. I got to the pillow, and reached into the pocket to make the exchange. I grabbed the small round thing in the pocket, and slipped in the gold dollar. I was in the middle of the transaction when I realized my daughter's breathing had changed. She was awake! I didn't quite know what to do, so I just casually finished what I was doing, put the pillow back, and tripped and stumbled my way OUT of her room. I went downstairs, and then came back up, as if I was coming up for the first time. I don't know, it sounded like the thing to do at the time. She was only six, how smart could she BE?

When I got to the top of the stairs again, my daughter stirred and called out for me. I mentioned something about just going to bed. She checked her pillow and announced that the tooth fairy had come. I came into her room, and she told me the story of how she woke up and someone was in her room by her bed, and she had really seen the tooth fairy! She opened the pocket on her pillow, and she exclaimed, "She left me a gold dollar! And look! She left the tooth!" The tooth?? I felt in my jeans pocket for the sharp round object I had pulled out of the pillow. It was still there. What had I collected instead? I hid my surprise as I said, "Oh, neat!" Then she looked at me quizzically, and said, "Mom, the tooth fairy sure did look a lot like you. Are you sure you're not the tooth fairy?" I quickly lied and said, "Um, no, I have no idea what you're talking about, goodnight honey!" and fled. When I got out to the hallway again, I checked my pocket and saw that my lovely six year old had put a red crystal bead in the pocket next to her tooth. Not only had I awakened the child and blown my cover, I hadn't even gotten the TOOTH. I wasn't a tooth fairy, I was a tooth failure!

By morning, I had turned into this beautiful fairy with shining wings and golden hair as my daughter told everyone she knew the story of her waking up and seeing the tooth fairy. By the end of the day, she had started to believe it herself. My cover was saved. But it was only the first of a long list of failures as the tooth fairy. I forgot to take the tooth a few times. Once, she got double the money because her Dad and I hadn't communicated who was actually going to end up being the tooth fairy that night, and I didn't realize there was money already in that pocket. The gold dollars changed to dollar bills, to handfuls of whatever coins I could dig up from the bottom of my purse. The rules started to be that the tooth fairy wouldn't come if the room was messy. Then, giving up entirely, all teeth had to be left out in the hallway.

My youngest lost her first tooth the same year that my oldest found out the truth about the Tooth Fairy, and Santa, and even that Leprechaun. So when it was my youngest's turn to put her tooth in the pocket of a pillow, I decided it was time to turn in my wings. I told my oldest that now she knew the truth, it was her turn to be the tooth fairy. She rose to the occasion with a splendor I never could have imagined. As soon as the youngest went to bed, she began to dress up. She put her hair on top of her head, and wrapped herself in a big padded bathrobe. She put on her dress-up fairy wings over the bathrobe, and put a tooth brush and tube of toothpaste in the pockets of her bathrobe. We waited for over an hour to make sure the youngest was asleep before we sent her in for the switch. She was perfect, as she glided over the floor, traded the tooth for the cash, and glided back out.

I might be a failure as a tooth fairy, but I had RAISED the best Tooth Fairy in the history of all Tooth Fairies! I couldn't be more proud.


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