Long day ago, (as Van used to say) when Brandon was a young pensive lad, he came to me with his first snaggle toothed smile. The day had finally come; my first born lost his first tooth. Like most kids in America who anticipate the comings and goings of all the childhood, fantasy, gift giving, money stuffing, egg hiding creatures, which adults over the ages have concocted for their children to believe in, Brandon was no different. Before he could hide it under his pillow in anxious anticipation of the “Tooth Fairy” that night, he had to show it to Grandma!
He rushed upstairs with much excitement and glee to show her his smile and his little tooth. Well, Grandma, (is what they lovingly called my mom and your Aunt Doris) was the first to whip out her purse and give her “little man of the house” a bright shiny quarter! With wide eyed wonder, he clenched that tooth tightly in his little fist for a good portion of the day and took it everywhere we went to show it to any one who would look at it! (There was money to be made! Even at 5 years old, he was quite the businessman) The economy took a sharp turn upward when he showed it to Pa Laster, who immediately pulled a whole dollar out of his wallet and handed it to the proud snaggle toothed entrepreneur! (I had been taken on as his trusted financial consultant, as he had given me the job of holding on to the dollar and the quarter, because with the tooth in hand, it was just getting to be a little too much.)
Well, the day’s end finally came, and he carefully placed the small tooth (more like a goose laying golden eggs) under his pillow.
Now, here’s where the story takes a sharp turn towards reality and here’s where I underestimated the naïve innocence of my child. Being a single parent, there were many days when I was low on cash and that usually meant no cash. If there had been a contest for, who had the most money, Brandon would have won hands down. Shoot, that $1.25 was an answer to prayer, because I didn’t have any way to play tooth fairy that day! And heck, all I ever got for a lost tooth was a nickel! A buck twenty five ought to look good under his pillow! So, not knowing that my child had already compounded the interest in his head on the loot he had already gotten not to mention the anticipation of what the tooth fairy would leave, I very foolishly, but carefully placed the dollar and the quarter under his pillow, removed the tooth, and lovingly kissed my sleeping, toothless child on his forehead, and went to snuggle down for the night myself.
Morning came quickly, and as usual, I got up to start breakfast for my hungry little brood. Brandon found me at the stove flipping pancakes (not his favorite…this just was not going to be his day). He had this look of confusion on his little face; he had a quarter in one hand, he had the dollar in the other.
“Mommy,” his voice full of questions, “Is…this the quarter Grandma gave me?” He held up his hand to show me the quarter.
Oh,oh…I got a sinking feeling in my stomach…I knew where this was going.
“Ahhh, yeah, Brandon, it is.”
“And, is this the dollar Pa gave me?” The questioning was getting tougher.
“Yes Brandon, it is.”
He paused for a moment, and then concluded, “Well, THE TOOTH FAIRY didn’t leave me nothin.”
Oh boy, think fast, think fast what are you going to do? Ok, ok, I got it…
“Well, Brandon, after close examination of your tooth, The Tooth Fairy was able to determine that you had not been brushing very well. So, if you start brushing your teeth longer and better, she said that there would definitely be something for you the next time you loose a tooth, OK?”
That was thinking on my toes! Whew! And you’d better believe I was going to keep some change around for that!
Well, a little disgusted, he turned, walked away and headed for the one person who could maybe shed some light on this disillusioning turn of events …Grandma.
“Brandon!” she said, as she gave him a good morning bear hug. “Did the Tooth Fairy come? What did she leave you?” She asked him anticipating his excitement.
“Yeah, she came, BUT SHE DIDN’T LEAVE ME NOTHIN BUT A MESSAGE!!!!”
Grandma came downstairs with her disappointed little fella…I had some serious explaining to do…