the tooth fairy


Ren looked at me sadly. He poked his tongue through the hole where he lost his first baby tooth at school yesterday, “The Tooth Fairy did not come last night.”

Oh no. Not again. I've got to get better at these milestone events.

I turned to Ash and said, “Ash, the Tooth Fairy did not come last night.”

She rolled her eyes and pushed out a puff of air only as teenagers can do, “I know what that’s like.” This scenario is all too familiar. For her, it started one morning in the Fall of 2014 when she lost a tooth, one of her incisors. She bounded out of her bedroom before school and held the deposed tooth on her flattened palm.

“Mom, my tooth just fell out,” Ash squeaked excitedly. “It just fell out.”

“Was it loose?” I asked picking up her tooth and examining it.

“It’s been loose for a long time.”

Then I looked in her mouth at the big empty space where the baby tooth once lived, and there, like an iceberg, lie the pointed top to the new incisor. “It didn’t just fall out, it was unseated by the new tooth.”

She ran her tongue through the space and said, “It feels weird. Do you think the tooth fairy will come while I’m at school today?”

“I don’t know,“ I said scrunching up my nose. “Does the tooth fairy come during the day?”

“Well, you would know,” she said, and then she winked at me.

I grabbed the piece of paper I was writing my day’s to do list and notes on: The Tooth Fairy.

When Ash came home from school, she ran into her room and then slumped back down the stairs. “She didn’t come.”


“The Tooth Fairy.”

“I guess she only comes at night.”

Ash looked disgruntled. “Mmm. Uh Huh. Okay. Tonight then.”

“By the way, where are you putting your tooth?” I asked.

“Under my pillow, mom.” She punctuated each word of that sentence with emphasis letting the final word roll long off her tongue.

And when B came home from work, Ash repeated the entire story so he would know, too.

The next morning, Ash got up early, checked under her pillow, and marched right up to B & I, “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night.”

“Really? Maybe she’s busy. I hear this time of year is crazy for the tooth collection business,” I said.

“I wonder what she does with all those teeth anyway,” B said. “Does she make a necklace?”

“That’s creepy, dad,” Ash replied. “She better come tonight.”

The next morning, Ash told me that the Tooth Fairy still didn’t come.

“Really? That’s strange,” I said biting my lip. “I wonder what the delay is. This is certainly not like the Tooth Fairy to simply not pick up a tooth. Did you write her a note?”


“Where is your tooth?”

“I moved it to the dining table so she could find it easier. I told daddy.”

I looked and there it was, snug inside its large legal-sized envelope. Very hard to miss. “Well, all I can say is she’s a slacker. Perhaps we can send her an email to let her know you lost a tooth.”

“Really, mom? The tooth fairy gets email?”

I just shrugged. Ash grabbed the tooth-filled envelope and stomped upstairs. The rest of the night, Ash frequently repeated, “I sure hope the Tooth Fairy comes tonight.”

The next morning came and still no evidence of the Tooth Fairy. Ash was clearly dismayed.

“Why hasn’t she shown up? I mean, c’mon, it’s the Tooth Fairy. It’s her job. I wonder how the Tooth Fairy even knows when you lose a tooth, and what if I lost a tooth, didn’t tell anyone, if she would still show up.”

“I don’t think it really matters. Apparently she’s not showing up at all,” I said.

“I’m gonna write another letter.”

At bedtime, Ash sprinkled letters and notes to the Tooth Fairy all over her bed room. She cleaned off her dresser so that there would be absolutely no confusion whatsoever where her tooth would be. And we all went to bed that night with thoughts of the Tooth Fairy dancing in our heads.

The next morning, Ash ran downstairs and announced excitedly, “The Tooth Fairy came last night.”

“She did?” asked B. “Did she take your tooth?”


“How much did she leave you?”

“Five dollars!” she exclaimed.

“Five dollars?” B asked. “I didn’t know that was the going rate for a tooth.”

Ash danced out of the room waving her five dollars over her head.

I turned to B in a hushed tone and asked, “Was that back pay with a little interest?”

B answered, “It was a little dark in the room. The Tooth Fairy didn’t know what he was giving.”