It was just about a year ago that my son AB lost his first tooth. It was my husband’s idea to leave an animal tooth instead of money. A tooth for a tooth. As long as it included glitter, awe and an extra touch of make-believe, I was on board. As AB wrote his note to the Tooth Fairy, I was nearly shaking with excitement to finally play this role of magic maker.
It’s important to mention that I only get one shot at this. AB is our only child. So as soon as he was out, I went all out! Glitter was sprinkled through the house, in his bed, on his bedside table, in his hair. The note from the Tooth Fairy contained small, scripted letters, adorned with even more glitter. The note and a sharks tooth was lovingly placed in a small glass box beside his bed. The excitement and wonder AB had the next morning was worth the glitter embedded in the carpet, window sills and bed sheets for weeks.
As he wiggled each new loose tooth a curiosity grew in him; “what kind of tooth will the Tooth Fairy bring this time?” He walked through the house, wondering which window she’d come in; “I don’t think it will be the same one. But maybe.” I loved seeing his excitement, the belief in something carefree and delightful.
This year in public school I learned what a big deal leprechauns are. Building a trap at school wasn’t enough, AB wanted to catch one at home. We gathered supplies and he got to work. I smiled through my slight cringe as I discovered glitter was the all important lure. It had been awhile since he lost a tooth, and even though it felt like I had just got the last of glitter cleaned up, I let him have at it because I loved the joyous, awe-inspiring role I got to play in this land of make-believe.
But what does a leprechaun do? So I asked my Facebook friends. Turns out they ran the gamut, leaving green colored milk, turned up furniture, Lucky Charms and chocolate coins, and basically caused general mischief. I watched AB pick the perfect spot for his trap, set out a trail of crackers and cheese, and my heart began to race with excitement as I knew what was in store.
The next day, couch cushions were overturned, toilet paper was off the rolls, photos on the fridge were hung upside down, and green tags of “Hi!” were scrawled across mirrors, windows and picture frames. If he felt disappointed that he didn’t catch the leprechaun it didn’t show through his enthusiasm at discovering all the mischief. He laughed with joy and awe. That rascally mischievous leprechaun took the make-believe an extra step by also deciding to tag my forehead with his green “Hi!” AND draw a mustache and big eyebrows on me. I will never forget the look of astonishment on AB’s face when he first saw me, and he will likely not forget the look on mine, either.
Shortly thereafter we prepared for Easter, and AB asked me, “do you think the Easter Bunny talks to Santa? Do they know the Tooth Fairy, too? I bet they talk to each other. I bet they are all friends.” I said it sounded pretty likely but he didn’t need confirmation from me. They are lumped together in his mind – a bunny, a fairy, leprechauns, Santa – magical, mysterious, enchanting, and to him, not at all make-believe.
When I was little, my parents called my sister and I outside on Christmas morning. On the walkway between the house and the garage, my dad stood holding a pogo-stick. “Looks like this might have fallen out of Santa’s sleigh.” My sister and I were mesmerized. I can remember standing there, eyes wide, staring at the pogo-stick, and envisioning the situation. Perhaps it slipped out of Santa’s bag as he dashed off to the neighbors house? It is one of my childhood memories that I reflect upon often, and one we talked about through the years. My parents had the choice to either build our sense of wonder and belief, or just deliver the pogo-stick to us, admitting they had forgotten to wrap it. I’m glad they chose as they did.
Time is fleeting, memories are not. I get one chance at this childhood with my son, and I want it to be magical and awe-inspiring, with a dose of glitter on the side.