It’s been a while since my kid has lost a tooth. Months, actually. She’s almost ten so there aren’t many left to come out.
The other night she walks up to me in the kitchen and hands me one of her molars. Nothing more awkward then standing there holding your kid’s tooth while she stares at you, waiting to see what you’re going to do with it. Had anyone had the ability to look inside our minds at that moment, you would have seen me opening the cabinet door underneath the sink and tossing the molar in the garbage. Had you looked into her mind, you would have seen me depositing it inside a beautifully decorated box along with the rest of her dead teeth and every single piece of artwork she has created since the age of two.
Don’t get me wrong, I have three boxes full of keepsakes for her which is a lot considering she is only ten and compared to the number of “keepsakes” of mine my own mother kept stashed away, that is overkill. I was the youngest of three girls. By the time I was born, my mother was pretty much like “Fuck it, the crap from the other two is already eating up my closet space and hell if I’m moving all my shoeboxes again. Jessica wants me to store her keepsakes? Tell her to build herself her own goddamn closet.”
Being that my entire “stash” consisted of 5-6 photographs, I’m not sure why she “quit” on me but that’s for another time and an additional 20 sessions of intensive psychotherapy.
Anyway, so my daughter hands me this tooth of hers and I proceed to walk into my bedroom and put it on my nightstand. The plan was to toss it in the trash the following morning when she left for camp and that was it, that was the entire plan.
Next morning, I go to wake her up and the first thing she says to me is, “The tooth fairy never came.” Automatically, my mind starts scrambling to think of a reason why. At this point, I’m now lying next to her and we are facing each other. She is staring into my eyes, waiting for a response. I am staring back at her still trying to come up with a good reason for why she is no richer in that moment than she was the night before.
Now, you know the kind of tired you feel when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep since high school? Well, that’s pretty much how I felt at that moment so I just went with what was top of mind which was:
JESSICA: “Dude, you know who the tooth fairy really is, right?”
PHOEBE: (eyes now lowered) Yeah. (pause) You.
JESSICA: Exactly and now tell me, how long have you known it was me?
PHOEBE: A while.
JESSICA: And when were you going to let me in on the fact that you knew?
PHOEBE: I wasn’t.
PHOEBE: Because the tooth fairy always gives me money and you don’t.
JESSICA: Good call.