The Tooth Fairy bids adieu

Offtopic, but … Last night marked a momentous milestone in my house: the Tooth Fairy’s final visit. My younger son’s last baby tooth came out, pushed aside by the grown-up tooth eager to replace it and spurred by his wiggling and prodding. Then came the ritual of placing the tooth in a small pouch and sliding it beneath his pillow at bedtime. At the ripe old age of 11, his belief in the Tooth Fairy is doubtful, as evidenced by his nuanced negotiation with me over the amount the Fairy should leave. But he plays along. And, in this final stretch of his childhood, I doubt he fully disbelieves. I imagine him falling off to sleep with at least a remnant of youthful wonder at the uncertain notion that a fairy might enter his room this night. As I slip in later to swap tooth for cash, I realize that this will be my last-ever act of agency for the Tooth Fairy. I am sure it was only yesterday that my older son sprung his first baby tooth, yet here, all these years later, is my younger son’s last. There in his room in the dark of midnight, swap successful, tooth in hand, I am overwhelmed for a moment by the precious and fleeting nature of childhood, parenthood and life.