My ten-year old daughter had not lost a tooth in what seemed like years. So when it cane time to leave a gift from the Tooth Fairy we weren’t quite sure what to leave. So we left a five dollar bill under her pillow. We thought that was reasonable and five dollars is still quite a bit of money in my eyes.
To backtrack, the night before, my four-year old son, who has yet to lose a tooth, was more excited than anyone. He couldn’t wait to see what the Tooth Fairy left. When they woke up, neither one of them could find anything. So at first they were disappointed. Then I unraveled the blanket and a five dollar bill appeared. My son was excited. My daughter. Not so much.
Apparently one of her friends had recently gotten earrings and a shirt from the Tooth Fairy. So five dollars must have paled in comparison. I went downstairs to begin getting ready for the day. Part of me was feeling that my daughter was spoiled for not being grateful for the five dollars. Another part of me was trying to put myself in her shoes.
It is not always easy for a forty-five year old man to put himself in the shoes of a ten-year old girl. But I try everyday.
After a few minutes my son came back down with the five dollar bill in his hand. She had apparently given it to him because she was mad. He was ecstatic. She was not.
I went back upstairs to see how my daughter was doing. She was still down about what the Tooth Fairy had left her. Or to be more accurate. Had not left her.
Think quickly Jon!
She is an amazing big sister and I knew how I had to spin this. I hoped it would work.
I pointed out to her think about the joy that her brother had shown during this whole experience. I told her that her greatest gift was the happiness and innocence her brother had displayed throughout the whole thing.
We called him back up. And as he sat across from us on the bed he told us about everything that had taken place the night before. He said that he actually saw the Tooth Fairy and that he saw her wings and that she was beautiful. He described this whole event in detail. As if he really did see it.
The magic is still real for him and that is a beautiful thing.
My daughter is at the age where I am 99.9% sure she knows how Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny operate. But she still plays along.
But I have to tell you. Watching her face light up as her four-year old brother recounted how he witnessed the whole Tooth Fairy experience was immeasurable. Earrings from Tiffany & Co, in New York would not have compared. It was absolutely priceless! A moment I will never forget. He was so excited and his elation was priceless.
The morning went on as usual. A mad 30 minute rush to get out the door with lunches made, outfits matching and breakfasts eaten. But we were on schedule to leave on time. My wife and kids leave a little bit before me. I always walk them out to the car. Give them each a kiss and wave goodbye as they holler down the street. It is a nice routine that starts my day off with a smile.
But this morning my daughter still wasn’t herself. As ten-year old girls are prone to do, she wasn’t completely satisfied with the way she looked. Damn social media and air brushing! My wife and son went out to the car and my daughter lagged behind. As she was gathering up everything for school I noticed she stopped for a minute to do something. What, I wasn’t quite sure.
She got a napkin and a marker. Wrote a quick note on it. And stuffed it in my lunchbox. Once she turned away I had to check. When I saw what she had written my heart stopped.
“Love you have
a great day”
This small gesture took all of about ten seconds. But it meant the world to me. Here my daughter had given her gift from the Tooth Fairy to her brother, been upset about her appearance and yet she took the time to secretly wish me a great day.
I have yet to fully digest all that transpired yesterday even though I know there were several takeaways. But I do know this. Our children and our students are capable of much more than we sometimes give them credit for.
Moments do mean more to them than merchandise.
My daughter taught me that we can still give, even when we are sad. And in doing so we make each other stronger. And in doing so we make each other better. And in doing so we make each other realize what’s most important in life.
This morning. Two days later. I said to my daughter how cool it was that her brother was so excited about the five dollars she gave him and what he bought with it. She smiled back and said, yeah he bought four cars. And I could tell that she was just as happy as he was out how it all turned out.
She’s gonna be all right.
Oh, and by the way. As I am writing this piece, my son and daughter are downstairs playing with the cars purchased with the Tooth Fairy money.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand.
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh