When the Tooth Fairy Came

Slice of Life writing is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers

Slice of Life writing is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers

Maddie’s two front teeth have been very loose for some time.  They got knocked loose back in July while playing with her cousin.  The teeth would jiggle and wobble a bit more with each passing week.  The dentist said the teeth were going to fall out sooner rather than later, so Maddie and I have talked a lot about loose teeth and new teeth and the Tooth Fairy.

The left tooth turned grey and then turned white again.   August passed, then September, then October…. The tooth would teeter precariously when we brushed her teeth at night.  Sometimes when Maddie was eating, my husband and I would cringe as we watched the tooth shift oddly in her mouth.  I mean, this tooth was ready.

So, when I got an email at work the other day that said, “Mrs. Murphy, the daycare called.  It is not an emergency.  They would like to speak to you about Maddie.  Please call them,” I knew.

“The tooth,” I thought to myself.  I excused myself from the meeting and called the daycare.  Sure enough, another child accidentally bumped Maddie in the mouth, and the tooth came out.  My heart sank.  I wasn’t there.  Maddie’s tooth finally came out, and I wasn’t there.  There was probably some blood, and I wasn’t there.  She was probably a little scared, and I wasn’t there.   She probably cried, and I wasn’t there.

I couldn’t wait to get out of work that day.   I couldn’t wait to see her new smile!

That evening, we tucked Maddie’s tooth in her special holder and slipped it under her pillow.   Maddie was sure she wasn’t going to be able to sleep; she was so excited that the Tooth Fairy was coming!

As the story goes, the next morning Maddie came downstairs in her pajamas and bed head, holding her treasure behind her back.  The Tooth Fairy had wrapped some money in a pretty pink bow.  I guess she knew it was a really special occasion!  Maddie sat on the couch and carefully opened the bow.  She counted her money.  “One, two, three….”, Maddie’s eyes grew wide, “four, five!  Five dollars!”  My mom told me Maddie was so happy.  I wasn’t there.  I will write about it in her keepsake book, but I wasn’t there.  I can imagine Maddie growing wide-eyed as the dollar bills piled up on her lap.  I can only imagine it because I wasn’t there.

I hate that I missed it.  I don’t know why my school district doesn’t allow for “Tooth Fairy Days” in our benefit package.



22 thoughts on “When the Tooth Fairy Came

  1. Your repetition of “I wasn’t there” was a painful reminder of all the bits of life we miss. Reminds me to be present when I do have the opportunity to be there.

  2. I agree with elsie. Each “I wasn’t there” is like a little stab to the heart. Very effective in the writing and heartbreaking for the momma. Wiggly teeth drive me bananas- it’s an easy way to gross out THIS momma. Glad it came out.

  3. Woah…that’s some generous tooth fairy, and some amazing smile! As a working mother, the “I wasn’t there” bit sounds all too familiar. But Maddie is loved and knows it – you can see it in her smile.

  4. The repetition of “I wasn’t there” made my chest feel heavier and heavier every time I read it. It’s incredible how powerful those three (and a half) words made this piece of writing, Dana!

    Like Kim, I’m not a fan of wiggly teeth. I mean, they totally gross me out. Good thing Marc has a stronger stomach than I do.

    Love the photo of Maddie. She looks so proud!

  5. Oh I do remember those moments when I was not there – and your repetition of those words make this piece powerful. The good news is that you did remember your job as helper to the tooth fairy! More than one mom I know (self included) fell asleep and forgot to help – now that can take some real fairy dust covered talking!

  6. I can only imagine how happy Maddie was when she woke up the next morning to that pink bow and money. What a wonderful and generous Tooth Fairy she has in her life!!

  7. You were there in the way that matters most in your heart<3. You've surrounded her with caring people who report all the details. Nonetheless, this is hard and you expressed the longing well. If I could I would give up one of my personal necessity days for "Tooth Fairy days"!

  8. Awww, my heart hurt for you with each “I wasn’t there” because I know what that feels like. No matter how much you are there for, as a mom, it always hurts a little (or a lot) when you know you have missed something. Your daughter looks so very proud of her new smile! Precious!

  9. Unfortunately, we can’t always be there and I know that can be so hard at times. I love pictures of toothless smiles! I sure am glad my kids are not losing any more teeth – it would cost me a fortune!

  10. As painful as it was to hear over and over that you missed out of these precious moments, I had to laugh out loud at your last line: “I don’t know why my school district doesn’t allow for “Tooth Fairy Days” in our benefit package.” I agree! I love how even though you weren’t there, you were able to clearly capture the moment in words.

  11. Now, about this tooth fairy…five dollars?
    As a first grade teacher I can tell you most parents aren’t around for the first tooth to come out. Those kids are so determined to have the attention at school and to get the little treasure box that they spend most of the time twisting and turning that tooth until it fairly jumps out of their mouth to escape the torture! It would be nice to be there, BUT – it’s a milestone that they are proud to have accomplished on their own without mom or dad there. Just be proud that she did it independently! Yea! Next she’ll want the car keys!

  12. Mom, you were there- you just weren’t there…and kids know that you were there. For all the times I wasn’t able to be there, my boys (20,18, 15) know that I would have rather been there in body than spirit, but they never doubt I was there in spirit. love does transcend.

  13. You wrote and captured this time so lovingly, Dana, and I will echo Donna. I was a first grade teacher first, and the teeth come out at all the most interesting times! I kept little boxes just for the kids to carry home. I hope you’re there for the ‘next thing’, yet remember that our kids also strengthen when they realize they can ‘do it’ without Mom (or Dad). You’ve given that strength.

  14. I think that tooth fairy days should be an option! Cute story! it’s okay mom, there will be many more memories! I like how you wrote about this day though it was very sweet!

  15. Dana, two things….1. I’m with everyone else on “I wasn’t there, ” so profound. I fear these moments. 2. After finally catching up on writing, reading & commenting I noticed something. I wanted try out Erasure Poetry, conferred with a student and he agreed. The piece he chose was about his loose tooth! I kid you not! I’ll share it with you when he’s done.

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