One of the best things about being a parent is that you get to tell lies to your children. OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. If the word fabrications makes you feel better we’ll use that instead.
Recently, I was reminiscing with my sister, brother-in-law, and parents during a visit to their city. My youngest son, who is 18, was with me and is about to start college there. After another award winning meal by my mom, we lingered at the table and our conversation drifted to what a great smile my son possesses.
This was after we discussed the pros and cons of braces, wearing retainers, my brother-in-law’s potential investment in Invasalign and discussion about TMJ (a painful jaw condition). I described my Invisalign experience. We marveled at how common it seems for many adults to have braces even if they had them as teenagers. Several or us fell into that camp.
Meanwhile, my son’s natural smile gleams and our stories about teeth straightening became stories about tooth loosing. I told about the “tooth fairy process” we had when said son was small and losing his baby teeth. When he got another “window” in his mouth, we kept it simple. He put the tooth under the pillow and discovered money in its place the next morning. I rather loved embellishing stories about the Tooth Fairy and how busy he was. I wondered out loud when my son was younger just WHAT the Tooth Fairy DID with all the teeth he collected and I marveled at his management and accounting skills since he kept track of who lost what when and how much they received.
My story centered on a particular time when the Tooth Fair was tardy. It was during one such time in my son’s younger years where we went through the tooth pulling, the tooth placing and the anticipation of cold hard cash. It was my custom to wake him in the morning, kiss his forehead and hug him before he got up. But horror of horrors, one morning I realized that the Tooth Fairy had flat out forgotten about the anticipated exchange. As I performed my morning routine hugging my son, my hand swept beneath his pillow finding the tooth and finding me in a very much unanticipated situation.
“Wow, the Tooth Fairy took your tooth,” I said casually as I gently closed my hand around the tiny tidbit so he wouldn’t see it.
My son picked up his pillow, looked for his prize and then his disappointed eyes reach mine. I knew what he was thinking: where’s the money?
“What? No money?” I asked with surprise. “Hm. I bet it’s because the Tooth Fairy doesn’t work on Tuesday nights!”
My son grinned, accepting my creative crisis response. He nodded his head in agreement when I told him I was SURE the Tooth Fairy would take care of it that night. I was right! The Tooth Fairy redeemed himself and even provided a bonus, which immensely satisfied my son – the one whose smile started all these stories in the first place.
The next tale came from my mom who told about a time at her home when my next-to-youngest nephew was staying with her and lost a tooth quite unexpectedly.
“I just held out my hand for the tooth,” mom explained. “JJ gave it to me and I gave him two dollars. He was amazed and sincerely surprised.”
Two dollars is quite “a take” when it comes to the money-for-tooth exchange. I contemplated starting to pull mine for a second but then asked about his response.
“JJ said he only gets 50 cents at home,” mom said laughing.
“Hmmmm,” I thought. “Maybe the Tooth Fairy has a sliding scale!”
No matter the reason, I reckoned. The Tooth Fairy is still amazing and my son? He’s still smiling!