Posted on | February 23, 2016 | No Comments
Last night, J and I together managed to pull his very first loose tooth out of his mouth.
He was so excited, all bright eyed and gap toothed and telling me he wasn’t sure he’d get to sleep because he couldn’t wait to see if the Tooth Fairy would come.
He was overjoyed.
And I? I tucked my hair down around my eyes and wept secretly, hidden in the corner of the room as he crowed and grinned his way to bed. Because I remembered all too well the day that tooth had arrived, in the reddened and raw gums of my baby. I remembered all too well the joy and excitement I’d felt when I ran my index finger across his little mouth and felt the tender whiteness of a brand new tooth.
My God, it wasn’t that long ago, I’d swear it.
It can’t have been so long ago that diapers were changed and lullabies were sung. Not so long since I carried him close to my chest, his warm head tucked into the curve of my neck as we walked and bounced and swayed our way through the evenings.
Those nights, those seemingly endless nights, when I ached to sleep and he cried, desperate in my ear and in my mind. Even when he was fast asleep, I heard him, remembering he was there… knowing at any moment he would need me again. He needs me much less often now.
We tucked the little tooth, that sweet reminder of my baby, into the soft white pocket of a pillow and buttoned it closed. He climbed into bed and closed his eyes tight, hoping he wouldn’t be disappointed… hoping the Tooth Fairy would whisk in during the night and buy his tiny tooth right out from under me.
Later, much later, I climbed into my own bed, cheeks still damp, eyes still misty. Somewhere, the Tooth Fairy was flying away, clutching the first of many delicate white, achingly sweet, enameled tear drops of childhood.
But here, in the quiet of my bedroom, I was cradling memories, rocking them gently and tucking them tight in the folds of my heart where the rest of my baby still lives.