I had read books from the library about the tooth fairy when I was little. But I knew that just like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy didn't exist. And even though I knew the tooth fairy didn't exist I thought it would be nice if I got something for losing a tooth. I mean, hey, losing a tooth isn't all fun and games. Oh no! I remember the first molar that I lost. It was hanging on by a thread for over a day. I wriggled it, pulled it, plucked it, and it wouldn't budge that last millimeter. But when it finally fell out, I was overjoyed! And by this time, the time when I started losing molars, I knew for certain that I would get a reward for all that hard work.
You see, we had the Tooth Daddy growing up. For those of you who don't understand, the Tooth Daddy was Dad. I didn't realize this for the first two teeth that I lost, but after telling Damarise that I had a hunch that Dad was the Tooth Daddy and after having her laugh at my slow realization of this fact, I knew for certain that Dad was the Tooth Daddy (and felt slightly embarrassed for having ever wondered otherwise).
When I lost my first tooth I stuck that tooth in a Ziploc bag under my pillow. In the morning I had a quarter (or maybe a dollar... I can't remember) and a note from the Tooth Daddy. The money was great, but the notes were the best! They always had a fun drawing depicting the exciting circumstances surrounding the tooth falling out. And with the drawing was always a sweet note. Sometimes encouraging the bravery displayed while suffering through the loose tooth, a reminder to take care of the pearly whites God had blessed me with, and always a reminder of how loved I was by Dad.
I have all those notes in a bucket somewhere. But I think one of my favourite notes from the Tooth Daddy was one that was made on the run. I don't remember how old I was, but we were still living in Arkansas at the time. I had lost my tooth late at night and knew that Dad was leaving early in the morning (before the sun would even be thinking about rising) to go to a Chemistry conference. At this point I knew who the Tooth Daddy was and knowing that Dad was leaving for his conference I knew there'd be no note in the morning when I woke up. But even knowing that, I still stuck my tooth under my pillow. I woke up early the next morning a little disappointed, knowing that when I reached under my pillow my tooth would still be there. I debated about not even feeling under there, but decided I may as well. Instead of pulling out the tooth like I expected, I pulled out a short note saying that the Tooth Daddy was very busy but he would never ever forget about leaving a note and money for a tooth. He told me how much he loved me and that he was sorry the note was short. I could've cared less about how short the note was. All that mattered was that he remembered, even in the busyness of him leaving for his trip. I was overjoyed!
And that is why when Dad sent a letter to all of us kids via email announcing the retirement of the Tooth Daddy on February 23rd, I may have teared up. At the top of the note was a drawing just like the ones drawn in our letters. The rest of the note told us that the Tooth Daddy was retiring due to no more teeth falling out. It was a precious, funny letter just like all the other letters from the Tooth Daddy. And it reminded me just how grateful I am for Dad. Getting a letter from Dad after losing a tooth was one of the most exciting things. It was exciting to get money, look at the fun picture, and read what Dad had to say. But looking back on it now, it showed just how much Dad cared about every little detail of our lives. And for that, I'm thankful. Getting the Tooth Daddy retirement letter this week was just a little reminder of how blessed I am to have Dad as my dad.
The Tooth Daddy era is over and I just want to thank Dad for the wonderful Tooth Daddy he made. I love you, Dad! Thanks for caring about our lives... even in the tiny things like losing a tooth.