It started like this:
Savannah: “Mom, my tooth feels funny.”
Me (checking tooth): “Oh, honey that’s because it’s loose!” (internally freaking out, externally motioning for Geoff to Google it, Google it, GOOGLE IT!)
Savannah: “Oh no! Is it going to fall out?”
Me (trying to remain calm as Geoff scrambles to uncover whether we have a perfectly normal four-year-old or a medical anomaly on our hands): “Well, yes, but a big girl tooth will grow in its place! Everyone loses their baby teeth – even Mommy and Daddy. It just means you’re getting bigger!”
Geoff (giving me the thumbs-up sign, which I will later verify with a frantic call to our pediatric dentist): “Yep, honey, isn’t that exciting?”
Savannah (the shy kind of proud that makes a parent’s heart liquefy): “Yeah, I guess … except can the tooth fairy leave the money on the kitchen table? I don’t want her in my room messing with my pillow.”
And it ended like this:
Me, awake at 1:00 AM, recounting the day that tiny tooth first appeared, and the four impossibly short years that followed. Me, a basket case of stupefaction, because Jesus, genetics, why couldn’t you have at least waited until August to start wreaking dental havoc on my firstborn? Me, emotionally primed for bulky backpacks and noodle necklaces and giddy tooth-filled grins because preschool always comes before the tooth fairy except for when it doesn’t.
Except for when one day you wake up and discover the universe has pulled a fast one on you, shaking up the natural progression of childhood like a jar full of Miss TF’s shiny pennies (or, in the case of today’s going rate, half dollars). Me, not ready not ready not ready, and succumbing nonetheless – hesitant, nervous, and a little sad – to a different progression, a wider plan. Me, learning to be powerless.