Letting Life Get In the Way: Forgot to Call the Tooth Fairy

Monday night I went to yoga with my boys and it’s a good thing I did.

Among Katherine’s messaging was the notion of coming from a higher place in everything we do – not staying rooted in the external, the earthly, the things that don’t matter. Yoga is about going inward, to the root of who we are and seeing what is really important so we don’t get stuck, or sideswiped, by what isn’t.

Then after yoga, all blissed out and happy, I got on a work call late at night. Dan put the kids to bed. After my hour-and-a-half call, I ruminated over work-related things because that’s what I was mired in. We talked about what was worrying me and watched two reruns of Friends and went to sleep.

And we both forgot to let the tooth fairy know that Eliana had lost a molar.

So yesterday morning, when she awoke and looked in the tooth fairy pillow, her note (she lost the tooth) was still there. And money wasn’t.

She came into my room, her face heavy with disappointment, near tears, and said, “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come.”

I am the worst mother.

I didn’t know how to recover from this. It happened once to Asher years ago and he came down in the early dawn very disappointed, in tears, with no gift from TF. I was quick at the wit then and jumped up, saying, “Are you sure?”

I ran upstairs with $2 in my hand and slid it into the pillow. “Asher,” I called to him. “It’s early and your room is dark. You must not have seen it because it’s here.”


But yesterday, there was nothing I could do. We were in bright light in my room and my girl is way too smart to buy an act like that. I was literally stumped into silence.

If I hadn’t been sidetracked by what doesn’t matter (worry about inconsequential what-ifs related to work), I might’ve remembered to do what does matter – continue the story and the belief in things that are quite clearly unbelievable.

Dan and I conferred in the bathroom, wondering what to do. He suggested slipping $2 into a package of Purim goodies on the kitchen counter and saying that the tooth fairy left it at the treats that Eliana wanted for breakfast. I vetoed that idea.

(Although I find it ironic that this realization came on the heels of the holiday focused on uncovering what is real. In the Purim story, everything that seems good is actually bad and vice versa. Hmmm…)

And I went into my daughter, hugged her hard and said, “I forgot to do the tooth fairy last night.”

“You mean you forgot to call her,” she said.

“Yes, that’s what I mean. I’m so sorry. I think it was because of my work call that it just slipped my mind.”

Dan handed her $2. Another hug. And we got ready for the day.

I was on the verge of telling her the truth, you know, coming totally clean about the existence of the tooth fairy. In fact, she’s my one kid who for the past year has insisted, “Is she really real, Mommy?” I convinced her by saying that the tooth fairy only visits those who believe.

She’s not ready to truly disbelieve. And I guess I learned my lesson loud and clear – focus on what matters, ignore what doesn’t. Every minute, of every day.

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