Well, it has been about a week now since our black lab/golden retriever/dalmation/dachshund mutt (don't ask me how THAT happened - I'm still wondering ... ), Sophie, passed away ... left us ... went to the other side ... returned to her Maker ... died. However you put it, she's gone. But not forgotten.
We miss all sorts of little things like the tinkling of her dog collar charms, her sharp little bark, her black doggy nails scratching at the door (let me in, let me out, let me in, let me out) or clicking across the laminate floor, and the tongue baths she gave our sockless feet. But, mostly we have adjusted. Kota, the 8-year-old golden retreiver, grieved along with us, but is now relishing the extra love and care that was once divided between her and Soph.
And so, the sun rises and sets, and the clock ticks away each second, ever pushing us onward. Time and tide wait for no man. We can neither halt nor slow them ... and, like a shell caught in the undertow, we are powerless to halt or slow ourselves either. Until, as Emily Dickinson says, "Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me."
On Wednesday, Death stopped for the Tooth Fairy.
I took Tobey to the dentist. He had two rotting molars. The night before, he complained that his gums hurt, and a quick inspection of the offending area revealed to me that two molars set between the painful gums were visibly brownish. I felt like an incredibly "bad mom", but really now, it is not as though I have so very many reasons to explore the inside of my son's mouth. Right? RIGHT?!
The dentist confirmed that, yes, I was in fact a very BAD mom.
No! Just kidding!
The dentist confirmed that the teeth were decaying and were best pulled. So, out they came.
That night, Tobey tucked his two molars into a ziplock baggy and stashed it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy to collect. Actually, he didn't really care whether she collected the teeth or not, he was more concerned about whether she left some form of monetary compensation. The bigger the compensation, the better!
I told Tobey "good night" and moved to leave the room.
"I have a question. It's a secret."
I lean down so he can whisper in my ear so that the little brother in the top bunk won't "accidentally" overhear.
"Is the Tooth Fairy real?"
Ummmm. He has asked this before. He's asked this of Santa and the Easter Bunny, too. Those are the 3 fabled creatures that "live" at our house - and my answer is the same as always. Well, actually, it is not an answer at all - rather, a question.
"What do you think?"
He usually says unconvincingly, "Uh, yes, I think so."
We leave it at that. I cannot lie to him beyond the charade I've kept up over the years. I've struggled with this as I've grown in my faith. I have feared that when my boys one day discover that Santa, the Bunny, and the Fairy are all fictitious characters that they might also draw the conclusion that God, too, is just a character that I've planted in their little heads. I want nothing LESS than that, so over time, I've decided to answer their questions honestly. I desire for them to trust me.
This time, Tobey's response is different.
"Mmm ... I'm not really sure. Just tell me. Is there a Tooth Fairy?"
"Well ... do you really want to know? Even if the answer is that there isn't?"
He thinks about this.
"Yes. I really want to know. I figure that if there isn't a Tooth Fairy, I'll need to know sometime. If the Tooth Fairy is really you or Dad, then I need to know that so that I do the right things when I'm a dad. Don't you think?"
"Yes, you should know. And, no, there is no Tooth Fairy."
He doesn't hesitate. He grabs the teeth from under his pillow and tosses them at me laughing.
"Then take these! This bag is bugging me under my pillow!"
I grab the bag and hide it away from Xander's eyes. He's missed the whole exchange.
I walk to the kitchen chuckling, and toss the teeth in the trash. Then, I grab the Tooth Fairy dollars, and return to the boys' room. I smile at Tobey and thrust the money under the pillow beneath his wide-awake head.
He giggles uncontrollably.
The Tooth Fairy is dead.
Good riddance! :-)