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Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Eulogy for the Tooth Fairy


Note: I found this post deep in my drafts folder today. It's never been published before. I wrote this six years ago, about the daughter who is now a senior in high school. I'm fine. It's fine. I just need to cry it out.
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Last night, my oldest child lost her last baby tooth. It showed me everything I needed to know about who she is right now. In spite of knowing the truth about the Tooth Fairy (sort of), she wrote her a note to say goodbye, and thank you.

I say that she "sort of" knows about the Tooth Fairy because while I suspect she is aware of the truth, she hasn't talked about it. Perhaps because she knows once the gig is up, the dollars-for-teeth exchange will end and she dearly loves dollars. And certainly, other sixth graders would not hesitate to enlighten her on the true nature of the mythical, gift-giving characters she has grown up loving. They probably already have. But there's more to it than that. I think she wants to believe because she knows, at least for a little while longer, that she still can.

She avoids discussing any of this with me. Ostensibly because of her little brother and sister and the happiness they derive from it, but also because she's aware that there is power in not saying some things out loud. I think she stays silent because she knows that once it's openly acknowledged - it becomes real. An immutable fact. If she says it out loud, a beloved part of her childhood will truly be over. She isn't ready for that. Neither am I.

But we both know it's coming.

Next year she goes to middle school, which I remember vividly as being perhaps the third deepest pit in hell. I've tried not to let my worry about the next couple of years hit her radar too much. Is she ready for it? I honestly don't know. Her experience, like the rest of her childhood, will be very different than mine. By the time I was in sixth grade, I was a cynical little shit who read bad romance novels and rolled her eyes at the world.

But that's next year, and her note is about precisely right now. I want to appreciate right now, hold it gently in my hands and savor it, until it flutters away towards the future, all on it's own.

As I read her note to the Tooth Fairy last night, I felt feverish and lightheaded. It was because of all the love. It was like that moment in the hospital the day she was born. My love for her hit me like a brick in the face. I slowly walked out of her bedroom, my hands shaking, my eyes stinging. Her dad was away on a business trip, which was extremely inconvenient because I needed him at that moment. He is the only other person in the world who gets it. Who sees her and gets it. And I knew that he would read the note and we would look at each other and know.

Because one tiny page of lavender paper had almost magically captured who our daughter is at this moment in her life. She is smart, kind, appreciative, and respectful. She always wants to do what is right. Not all the time, but enough that it makes it hard not to shower with her everything she wants and needs. Because she is so grateful for it all and gives us so much back. She's imperfect and those imperfections make us love her harder. She's a little awkward sometimes, finding herself floating between who she is in her head and who she is in the world. She is mature and responsible, yet remarkably, almost obliviously innocent. She's tough and she will fight you but dear lord, she's so sweet and vulnerable. She is so fiercely loved by all of us.

The Tooth Fairy responded to her note. It was loving but brief, as there was very little room left on that small, lavender page. I'm not sure the Tooth Fairy really knew how to respond. Maybe the Tooth Fairy wishes she'd had a little more time to prepare. How do you say goodbye to such a sweet, silly, precious girl? To this part of her childhood, knowing that once it's over there is no going back? Maybe if the Tooth Fairy thought about it all too much, she would get really emotional and need to sit down.

But after a few minutes, I think the Tooth Fairy would calm herself down and stop crying. I think she'd sigh and do those quick exhales and hand flaps that signal she's getting it together. She'd realize that what she wrote back to the girl is not really that important. It was the girl, who all on her own, wrote a note of thanks - a eulogy of sorts for the Tooth Fairy - or at least a goodbye to the time where she was needed. The girl seems ready to move forward. The Tooth Fairy, however, maybe needs some more time before she's ready to flutter unsteadily towards the future.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2020

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