Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Shame

As soon as our little daughter came into our room this morning and said, "The tooth fairy was too busy, so she did not come last night," my heart sank.

Too busy. Those were the words that hurt. Too busy for our little Ella? No, no. Just forgetful, just easily distracted.

Grrr. That Tooth Fairy!

Thank God at least that this was not Boo's first tooth. The tooth fairy and I would have had a smack down, which means I would have slapped myself in the face repeatedly while looking in a mirror.

I am very sad to confess this is not the first time for our kids that the Tooth Fairy has been tardy. It has happened on a few occasions, either because there were no two-dollar bills available or because the two adults in this house responsible for reminding her of their sweet, gap-toothed children forgot.

Yes, I feel your scrutiny, but I don't have the heart to defend myself from your opinion of my parenting.

When the fairy is overwhelmed with the millions of teeth shed across the world, we tell our kids to be patient, because she WILL come. She's just busy. She just didn't have the chance last night, but she is faithful, if sometimes late.

That's where Ella got the "too busy" idea, in hearing our conversations with her older siblings. I was sad to hear the words come back to us.

We comfort ourselves that her being unpredictable makes her more believable, more realistic. It works, I guess, because our ten-year-old who argues everything, including religion, still believes. What's funny is that our sweet, compassionate eight-year-old girl has some big doubts. Does she perchance see too much of her mother, who does not do things when she should, who forgets so many things, who is distracted at every turn, in the unreliable Tooth Fairy?

I particularly feel this shame, because somehow over the course of raising our children, I have relegated the Tooth Fairy responsibilities to my husband. He goes to the bank for the special bills. He usually gets down the pillow, the one his mom sewed, per his request, especially for our kids. And because I really stink at sneaking, he slips the reward into the tiny fairy pillow late at night. I don't even do a good job of reminding him.

He told me this morning as we whispered together, "You've got to help me. If you think about it, just tell me."

So a night like last night happens, and I am hanging my head. What is worse is that I see how the disappointment affects my little Ella Boo. She's more touchy about everything, including little things at preschool, and when she tells me after I pick her up, "I'm just having a bad day," I can't help but feel it's all my fault. The Tooth Fairy isn't a fairy at all.

One thing did help - oh and how I thank God for other moms who reject a chance to judge - and that was Ella's preschool teacher saying to me with meaning in her eyes and kindness in her tone, "Yes, I do. I do know how that goes, but the Tooth Fairy will make it up tonight."

Dang right she will, because she does care. She cares so much more than it shows sometimes.


  1. This nearly made me cry, Hillary - would've if I hadn't remembered to be a cynical old sod.

    Thanks for a brilliant blog. Tim

    1. Yesterday afternoon I was hoping to write a happier post, but I was still feeling dejected about the Tooth Fairy. I wrote this as a release for those feelings, and, thankfully, it helped.

      Thank you for reading, Tim. It never gets old to know that someone is reading and has enjoyed or is moved by my little stories. I hope you'll visit often. Thanks!

  2. Oh, Hillary! I'm sure she forgot all about the Tooth Fairy's tardiness when she finally got her $2 bill! We used to leave our teeth in a cup of water in the kitchen window sill, and it STILL took the Tooth Fairy quite a bit of time before she got around to leaving the quarter that was the going rate back then. Just think of all the tardy Tooth Fairy stories your kids will tell someday. . . (Camille)

    1. You cheer me up, Camille! And you're right; she did forget the disappointment when the bill was in hand next morning.

      You know, I also left my teeth...tooth, I cups of water. Why did we do that again?


I love your comments!