Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Tooth Fairy Is My Hero

Jules isn’t a baby anymore.

She reads a little, swims a lot, and in a couple of weeks is going into kindergarten. But most of important of all, she has loose teeth. When you’re four going on five, that’s almost as big a deal as getting married.

Last night was exciting for her—her first baby tooth departed this life, leaving her a tiny bit toothless.
But it didn’t go without a fight. She and Allie and Will came to play at our house while their mama taught a few piano lessons at home yesterday, and Katy texted us before we picked them up.
“There’s a good chance Juliet will lose her first tooth today. You gotta take a picture for me if she’s at your place!”
Jules was pre-occupied all afternoon, focused on wiggling the little escapee with her finger and not so much on playing with the dolls. She definitely had a lot on her mind. But when it was time to take the kiddos home, there were no pictures.
The tooth was still hanging on.
We picked up a pizza on the way, and sat around the table with Katy and the kids, talking and eating. Suddenly, Jules was crying—that little tooth was trying to make a run for it. Turns out, hand tossed crusts are as good at twisting loose teeth as caramel apples.
But the tooth was still there—just a little sideways now. And instead of excitement, Jules had fear in her eyes.
“I don’t want you to pull it, Mama,” she said, as tears ran down her face.
“My teeth didn’t hurt at all when they fell out,” big sister, Allie, tried to encourage her.
“It’s just like pulling a carrot out of your garden,” I told her. “It doesn’t hurt the carrot and it doesn’t hurt the ground.” Guess how well that sage advice went over. Grandmas can’t remember how it feels to lose teeth. Well, some of them can.
But Katy had the magic answer. 
“Do you want to talk to Daddy?” she asked.
Jules wiped away a tear and nodded. So they got him on the phone, switched it over to face time so he could see the renegade tooth all the way from his fire station, and Jules started smiling again.
“You don’t have to pull it out,” he told her. “Just keep wiggling it with your tongue.”
“Yeah,” she said cheerfully, “I think it’ll come out tomorrow on Dependence Day!”
Firefighter daddies save the day every time. Jules went back to eating, we went back to talking, Daddy went back to working, and a few minutes later Katy asked Juliet to open her mouth so she could check on the dangling tooth.
“Jules!” she said in surprise. “Your tooth is gone!”
We all looked at each other and then at the gap in her mouth. Sure enough, the tooth was gone. Really gone. It wasn’t in her mouth or on her plate or stuck in her pizza. We expected more tears then. Cuz how do you explain to the Tooth Fairy that you still want her money but it might be a lot harder for her to retrieve the tooth she came for?
But Jules was jubilant. And trusting. She knew the Tooth Fairy would do the right thing. She and Allie went in to the craft table in the other room and, pencils in hand, explained everything—Jules with a hand drawn sketch of the whole event, and Allie with a written explanation on behalf of her little sister.

They put the documentation under Jules’ pillow later that night, and the Tooth Fairy—who wasn’t attending her first rodeo—made good with the money.
I think of all of childhood’s heroes, the Tooth Fairy is my favorite—even more than Santa Claus.

She doesn’t care if you’ve been good or bad, she doesn’t watch you while you sleep, and she doesn’t make you wait all year before she brings good things to you. Most important of all, though—if you accidently swallow the evidence, she still keeps her end of the bargain.
And whether you’re four going on five, or forty-nine going on fifty, we all need that kind of grace in our lives.
Thanks, Tooth Fairy. You rocked it again.

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