by Risa Green
My daughter lost her ninth tooth a few days ago – one of those side teeth that kids lose once they’re a little bit older. Teeth one through eight occurred between the ages of five and seven, and they were pretty simple. She put the tooth under her pillow, the tooth fairy came and left her a note and a few dollars, and in the morning she came running excitedly into my room to show me. But this ninth tooth was a little bit trickier. When I asked her that night at bedtime whether she’d put her tooth under her pillow, she gave me a funny look. Um, mom, she said. There’s something I need to tell you, only I’m afraid to tell you because if you know that I know the truth then I’m afraid you’ll stop doing it. I gave her the standard, you can tell me anything reply. Okay, well, you see, I think that you’re actually the tooth fairy.
I looked at her with a straight face. Why would you think that?
Because I know you are, she said. I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, and she rolled her eyes. Mooooooom. I know you are because I was on the computer a few weeks ago, and I saw a file called Tooth Fairy Letters.
I continued with the straight face. That’s so weird. The tooth fairy must be using our computer.
I’m not the tooth fairy, I told her. Okay, she said, indulging me. But if you are, please don’t not leave me money, because I’m saving for a laptop and I’m counting on those two dollars.
I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ll see you in the morning.
The next morning she got dressed, ate breakfast, watched a little tv, and said nothing about the tooth fairy.
So, did the tooth fairy come last night? I asked, nonchalantly.
She nodded. Oh. Interesting. Did she leave you money? Nod. Did she leave you a note? Nod. What did it say?
Really? You forget? Can I see it? Because I’d like to know if she’s still using our computer without my permission. I mean, I have some very personal documents on there and I don’t want some random little fairy person going through my files.
She handed me the letter, which was typed in purple ink in a cursive, girly font. After the requisite greetings and congratulations, it said this:
So, this is a little awkward, but it’s come to my attention that you think that I am not real. I have to tell you, this is kind of insulting. I spend a lot of time and energy being the tooth fairy, and nothing annoys me more than when kids think that I don’t exist. I mean, do you think it’s easy for a little fairy to carry your big teeth back and forth from your land to Fairy Land? Because it’s not. And just FYI, I don’t get paid very much to be a tooth fairy. And I don’t get medical benefits, either. Sorry. I’m not mad at you. Believe me, you’re not the first person to think this. It just really gets on my nerves. But I wanted you to know that I AM REAL. Just because you can’t see me doesn’t mean I don’t exist. Can you see air? Can you see gravity? Can you see the Easter Bunny? No, no, and no. But they’re all real. (Just kidding, the Easter Bunny isn’t real.) Anyway, I hope you spend your tooth money on something you really want. It was nice to see you again. Hopefully, I’ll see you again real soon.
Love, Molarie (your REAL tooth fairy)
Wow, I said. Someone’s a little bitter. Sounds like maybe the tooth fairy needs a vacation. My daughter gave me a look. It said, don’t think you’re fooling me for one second, mom, because I’ve read your work and I would know your sarcastic, guilt-trippy writing voice anywhere.
I gave her a look back. It said, don’t even think you can win this, because I will go to my grave denying it. When you’re in college and you get your wisdom teeth pulled, I guarantee you that the tooth fairy will still show up.
Why are you looking at me like that? she asked. I don’t know, why are you looking at me like that? We were both trying our hardest not to laugh, but we broke at exactly the same time, and we cracked up.
You are so crazy, she said, shaking her head at me.
I have no idea what you’re talking about, I told her.