Farewell, old friend. Goodbye, childhood
Someone we loved, who loved all of us right back, was taken away in the middle of the night. We didn’t see her often, but she played an important role in the family.
Last week we said goodbye to the Tooth Fairy after a good 11-year run.
It was bound to happen, but it didn’t play out at all in the way I had expected. I thought one of our two sons who LOVE to razz their little sister would be the spoiler. I didn’t anticipate that the spoiler would be my husband.
The questions had been building for some time as our daughter matured. Our 12- year-old had been leaving notes for the Tooth Fairy for years.
What do you look like?
How many teeth do you collect each night?
What do you DO with all of the teeth?
What do you do in your free time?
Can you tell me what color are your wings?
Can you fly?
Do you have a best friend?
And, my favorite line, when we forgot to “visit”: Why couldn’t you come yesterday? (The Tooth Fairy had to refrain from saying: Because I was coaching five baseball games and fell asleep on the couch, again).
And the ever-favorite last line of each note: “Please enjoy my teeth.” Yuck.
And, with each handwritten note, the “real” Tooth Fairy responded with a typed note, answering all questions posed by this very curious girl:
Why didn’t you come last night? I couldn’t get there because the weather was cold and my wings don’t do well in that weather.
How old are you? I’m somewhere between Dumbledore and Yoda.
Where do you get all of the money? The money I give is minted by other fairies at a special factory.
What do you do in your free time? In my free time I like to read, fly among the stars, and dream. I have quite an imagination (duh) and imagination can take you anywhere.
The Questions Kept Coming
Over the years, the questions got longer, more specific and then, the dagger to my heart:
Are you REALLY the Tooth Fairy, or is it just everyone’s moms and dads? OUCH. The end was clearly in sight. Sniff.
But she continued to believe (“You have to believe to receive” was the mantra), and we continued to let her. Until last week.
Once again, Tooth Fairy forgot to visit to collect the newly pulled teeth. But there was a chance to rectify the situation. With my daughter in the bathroom early the next morning, Tooth Fairy seized the moment and snuck into her room. Next I heard the bathroom door open and her feet shuffling along the hallway to her room.
This time I wished the answer to the “Can you fly?” question was a hearty yes.
They collided at the bedroom door, destined to come face to face, childhood on one side of the door, adulthood on the other.
And then I heard them BOTH start to laugh—that big, belly laughter that completely makes my heart swell. What a moment.
Just Like That, She’s a Pre-Teen
A few minutes later she appeared in my room. “Wait a minute—so DAD wrote ALL of those notes back to me?” She was incredulous as she processed this piece of the story.
“Yep—every one of them.” I watched that settle in.
“So no more money for me?”
“Well, that stinks. Why did you tell me?” Hair flip, then saunter out of the room.
And like that, she went from girl to pre-teen.
I wonder if I can get money for pulling my hair out these next few years…
Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.