They say the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Agree to disagree. The list should include the inevitability that, should you decide to do anything “special” to commemorate the visiting of the tooth fairy, teeth will then ALWAYS come out at the absolute worst possible times. The worst! Now, the tooth fairy has been on my radar for over twenty-five years. I actually saved a few silver dollars from the bounty of my own childhood lost teeth, to pass down to my kids. Yes. I’m that much of an over planner. It’s a sickness. Needless to say, I had already decided exactly how the tooth fairy thing was going to happen. It included an adorable receipt commemorating the day. The whole experience was going to be fantastic.
Then, my daughter lost her first little pearly white on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving!? It wasn’t even loose the day before. She’s sneaky like her momma and convinced all the cousins to pass along their wisdom to get the tooth OUT. They huddled, helping her all stinking day. So, after packing in family and food, we dragged ourselves home and while the kids got neatly tucked into bed, I frantically searched my bedside drawers for the little box of silver dollars I’d tucked away. Well, as frantically as one can search while doped up on tryptophan. Yes…I know that’s a myth and you’d have to eat 100 pounds of turkey to feel any results, but psychosomatic food coma or not, I was exhausted that night. Not in the mood for frivolity. Or scouring Pinterest boards to remember where on EARTH the receipt was pinned.
We had to abandon the silver dollar idea for all but the first tooth because (apparently) they aren’t in circulation anymore. The bank teller laughed in my face when I requested 50 or so of them to cover the next dozen years of teeth popping out. Madison’s next tooth came out when Daddy was on duty for the night. It sure was delightful walking him through how to adjust the dates on tooth fairy receipt and the right way to sparkle up a dollar. All while whispering in the corner at my moms-night-out. Yes. I said sparkle up a dollar. That was my back-up plan when my childhood dream of continuing silver dollars died. We’ve also had to make plans to sparkle a dollar while on vacation. Yeah.
Tonight it happened again. I’m in the middle of lesson planning, preparing for our co-op day tomorrow, getting backpacks and lunches ready and a thousand other things when what do I hear ringing down the stairs? The gleeful shouts of “Mommy! I got my tooth to come out!”. The stupid canine wasn’t even wiggly until dinner tonight. She does this on purpose. There my munchkin was, squirmy with anticipation as I tucked her in. Dancing eyes as she exclaimed “She’s coming Mommy!!”. The kicker is…my kids know it’s all a game. We have a great time pretending – cause I’m the biggest imagination person in the world – but they know it is pretend. They know “she” is me. Tonight, (not for the first time either) I was tempted in the moment to remind my daughter that it’s not real. That mommy is tired and the “tooth fairy” might not make it with a tooth coming out so late in the evening.
Here’s the encouragement at the end of a rant filled post. People (like me) who generally adore making the mundane special, finding the joy in crazy little events in life, and over-doing all holidays – those people – still get irritated at executing the plans sometimes. It’s not all happiness, rainbows and sparkly dollars always with delight, laughter and a good attitude. Nope. Tonight, as I trudged down to find the glitter glue, I reminded myself that specialness doesn’t just happen. Sometimes you have to plan to be spontaneously wild. Crazy fun memories and traditions take serious effort. And it’s pretty much guaranteed the energy will be needed when you least want to spend it. So here I sit, still awake because I need the girl to be soundly sleeping before I can slip her sparkly dollar and dated receipt under the pillow. Honestly, I’m grumpy about it (if you couldn’t tell). But, if we take the time to create specialness through the exhaustion, in spite of the pressures of life, doesn’t it become of greater value? Not just for the kids, but for ourselves as parents? I’m not saying everyone should run out and glitter-fy their lives. But as I sit, allowing my own childhood traditions to sweep through my mind, I see the intrinsic value in the way those memories connect me to my past. Fill me with contentment. Remind me of the parent I want to be. I want the tapestry of my kid’s lives to be woven with silver strands of special moments. With the pure joy of childhood glee. Somehow, creating those memories seems important enough to lose a few minutes sleep over.