Dear Tooth Fairy, I Will Really Miss You

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Amid a hectic weeknight as I was making my daughters’ dinner, my 10-year-old, Emma, ran into the kitchen to share that she had lost a tooth. I briefly looked up at her and smiled, and said something along the lines of “awesome, are you bleeding?”

She instantly replied with “Mom, don’t you understand this isn’t just any tooth; this is my last baby tooth.”

Now, in retrospect, I should have stopped everything I was doing, embraced her, and shared a sentimental moment. However, at the time, I did not think it was a big deal and continued with my dinner preparations.

Later that evening, as the girls were getting ready for bed, I saw Emma standing at the counter, carefully writing something. I asked her what it was, and she said it was a note to the Tooth Fairy. I did not think anything of this and expected to see a note saying something along the lines of “Tooth Fairy- Here is my tooth. Please leave me some money. Love, Emma.”

I was not prepared for what she actually wrote:

“Dear Tooth Fairy, If you didn’t know, this was my last baby tooth I WILL EVER LOSE. I will really miss you. Goodbye. -Emma.”

I’m not crying; you’re crying.

Just kidding, I was crying. And not just a tear rolling down my cheek, full-on sobbing.

Did I miss the memo that losing your last baby tooth is one of those significant milestones? I felt prepared for the last baby bottle, the first day of Kindergarten, the first sleepover. I have seen many of my friends (and I have started to prepare mentally) face milestones of driver’s license, prom, high school graduation. But here I was, literally in tears over a tiny tooth.

The finality of it, the last tooth she “ WILL EVER LOSE” (she did actually have that part in all caps).

The sentimental power that, even as a 10-year-old, Emma understands she has to let go of pieces of her childhood as she grows up.

And the simplicity of the “Goodbye.”

Cue the tears. Again.

The other interesting piece of this story is that Emma’s tooth fairy wasn’t all that diligent. In fact, on more than one occasion, her tooth fairy completely forgot all about her job. When she did remember, she never left fun notes or thoughtful prizes. She often left crumpled bills, and there was no cute tooth fairy pillow.

Emma’s tooth fairy’s biggest misstep was when Emma lost her tooth at 11:30 pm, and there was no cash anywhere in the house. After searching in every drawer, jacket pockets, and under the couch, the tooth fairy ended up having to “borrow” money from Emma’s own piggy bank (she paid it back).

BUT even with a mediocre tooth fairy, Emma was still going to “really miss her.”

Cue the tears. Again.

Nothing changed in our lives because Emma no longer has baby teeth. No one is hurt or suffering, and we aren’t actually saying goodbye to anyone. So why was this so heart-wrenching?

It’s because being a Mom is hard. Watching your kids grow up is hard, and navigating through their many life transitions is hard.

Letting go is hard. Being a conscientious tooth fairy is hard. But it turns out that saying goodbye to the tooth fairy is even harder.

Goodbye.

 

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Robin Zimmern is originally from Boston, MA arriving in Pensacola in 2008 via Nashville and Birmingham. Since moving to the south, Robin has embraced her inner "y’all," learned to wear pearls, eat grits, and knows the words to every Garth Brooks’ song. Robin is a proud girl mom to two precocious, creative and sassy girls: Emma (9) and Charlotte (6). They keep her on her toes in their never-ending desire to become YouTube stars, survive on a diet of pizza and chicken nuggets, and always trying to have the last word. Robin received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Vanderbilt University, and her specialist degree from the University of West Florida. Robin serves as the director of development at the University of West Florida. In Robin’s spare time (is that a thing?), she is a passionate community volunteer. Robin sits on several local boards, including the Pensacola Little Theatre, Manna, Junior League of Pensacola, Fiesta Pensacola, Valerie's House and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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