Last Friday night our family attended the annual Halloween Carnival at Bryn’s school. At some point during the carnival, Bryn was eating a candy bar and accidentally ate a loose tooth. She told me later she felt something hard while she was chewing but thought it was a peanut in the candy bar so she just swallowed it. She showed me the gap in her teeth when we got home, and she expressed her concern that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come because she didn’t have a tooth to leave under her pillow. I assured her it wouldn’t matter and the Tooth Fairly would come. Keep in mind, Bryn is ten years old now, so that should tell you how good I am at playing the Tooth Fairy.
But I forgot. I totally forgot. Last night, I went into Bryn’s room to say goodnight and to collect my nightly snuggles. This is what I found on her bedside table…
It was so cute and totally something Bryn would do. And of course I felt horrible that I had forgotten. So I said, “Oh, that’s really sweet Bryn. I’m sure the Tooth Fairy will come tonight.” And then Bryn says, “Well, that note has been sitting there for three days and she hasn’t come, so I doubt it.”
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of my heart breaking. It’s the sound of my failure as a mother. My daughter left a note for the Tooth Fairy in plain sight on her bedside table, and not only did I forget that she lost a tooth, but I totally failed to recognize it or pay attention. I am an asshole. It doesn’t take a lot to remember to give your kid a dollar for a lost tooth. It’s not hard. And I blew it. Later, I went to bed vowing to rectify this situation.
I woke up this morning and dressed. I walked down the hall to wake Bryn up for school and saw that damn note sitting on her bedside table. I forgot again! What the fuck is wrong with me?! So I crept back to my room, gathered enough change to equal a dollar, and snuck into her room. I put the change on her table and then collected the note and put it in my pocket.
I woke her up and started to get her clothes together for her. I casually mentioned that the Tooth Fairy finally came. Bryn looks at the money, then looks at me with the most perceptive, adult expression I’ve ever seen her wear. She then says, “I find it interesting that the Tooth Fairy finally came after I showed you the note last night. You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you?” And she smiles. It was a knowing smile. It was a ‘you’re-busted-and-you-can’t-deceive-me-any-longer’ smile.
I did the only thing I could at that point. I confessed. She’s ten, and I was lucky I got away with the charade as long as I did. I looked at her and said, “You’re right. I am the Tooth Fairy. I am so sorry I forgot about your tooth, but you can’t tell your brother!”
She took it well, which was a relief. When she was in third grade I had to tell her that Leprechauns weren’t real and she lost her shit. She was so pissed at me. But her class was building Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day and she kept going on and on about how she was so sure the trap she designed would work. So her response this morning was a welcome relief. She smiled, hugged me and acted like it was no big deal. She got her money, which at this point is probably more important to her than believing in the Tooth Fairy.
Despite her forgiveness and understanding, I still feel like a bad mom. There are only so many things we can do for our kids to instill a sense of magic and wonder in the world. And I suppose the fact that she is old enough to know the truth signifies the end of some of that magic. And that makes me sad. 😦