"Mom, have you seen my tooth?" He had lost his third tooth yesterday at school, and his teacher had placed it in a plastic bag. "Dad says he put it on the counter after I showed it to him."
"No, I haven't seen it," I replied as I hastily dried pots and shook out placemats.
"Well, will you help me look for it? I have to put it under my pillow or the Tooth Fairy won't come."
"Okay, okay, I will keep my eyes peeled for it," as I cleaned crusty crackers off the baby's high chair.
More searching yielded no tooth bag, but was beginning to produce some tears.
"Maybe you could write her a note," I suggested as I spooned leftover corn into a plastic bowl.
Knox sat his naked bottom on a clean kitchen stool and started to write in his huge kindergarten handwriting: "bear T Fairy, av lost a tooth"
He sighed, "Mom, I'm tired. Can you finish this note? I want the rest of it to say, 'Please leave me something under my pillow.'
Although I agreed, I was irritated, and not just at the pile of pots I had yet to put away. Irritated because my children always think they need to get something for everything. But, we parents have perpetuated this and fed into it and cultivated it, mostly because we have felt that we have no choice. It's a part of childhood to believe in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and even Leprechauns. I've seen it debated and lamented over on so many Mommy blogs. "To lie or not to lie; that is the question." I've often wished that Hubby and I had never started the lies because it's a lot of work. The sneaking around, finding hiding places, making sure there is a constant stockpile of "stuff", remembering what you've done in the past so the lies remain consistent (the latter being the most difficult for me).
I was almost finished with my post dinner clean-up when Knox came back downstairs, still naked and still not clean.
"Mommy, my tooth was in a plastic baggie. Did you see one on the counter anywhere?"
Yep. I vaguely recall a plastic baggie being thrown in the garbage during my cleaning frenzy.
"Oh, sorry pal, I think I threw it away..."
Knox peers in the trash can.
"...and Daddy already took out the trash."
Knox disappears and then reappears moments later carrying a trash bag from the garage. "Can we look for it?" Tears are glistening in his eyes.
"NO, we cannot dig through the trash for your tooth! I will finish the note to the Tooth Fairy, and she will stop. I promise." There are a lot of things I will do for my kids to make them feel better, but digging through the trash is not one of them. Certainly not to find a tooth just so he can get something when I know that his getting something is a sure thing because I am the one doing the giving.
After I was done vacuuming all the crumbs, I could hear Knox upstairs full-out crying now. I pulled on some plastic gloves and headed to the garage.
As I came up the stairs carrying the baggie containing the tooth, a beautiful, gap-toothed smile spread across Knox's precious face. "Thank you, Mommy," and he gave me the tightest hug.
Yes, there are a lot of things I will do for my children. Things that I will do because I can. They are going to experience so much heartbreak in life that I cannot prevent - heartbreak that they've already experienced and heartbreak that I won't even know about. If I can reverse some of the simple heartbreaks, I think that's worth a dig in the trash every once and a while.
Even if I don't always agree with the reason.