All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
There is something about the lack of front teeth that makes a kid look so adorable! The look is not as attractive in professional boxers or grandpa when he removes his dentures. My six-year-old grandson has been losing teeth more often than I lose my keys, and it is so cute!
This stage is part of the process of moving from little kid status to big kid status. It’s a big deal to kids. They know they’re entering a new stage of life, and they generally celebrate losing teeth. Of course, it helps when the family makes a celebration of it. When my daughter texted me the news that Callister had lost his second front tooth, I immediately went over to enthusiastically ooh and ahh over the new gap in his mouth. (That’s one of the perks of living so close.) The Tooth Fairy serves to make the entire experience exciting and magical!
When Callister lost his first tooth, his tooth fairy left a dollar bill, and Callister was disappointed. He thinks of money as coins, not bills. The tooth fairy complied and began leaving gold dollar coins. There was a discussion on our neighborhood Facebook page about what the going rate tooth fairies are paying these days is, and it seems the popular consensus is five dollars for the first tooth and then one dollar for subsequent teeth.
But I digress. My point is that my oldest grandchild has lost his two front teeth, ushering him into the big kid phase of life. But now let’s make it all about me. How can I simultaneously be so excited at each new stage in his life while also being ridiculously nostalgic for his baby and toddler years?
I was not one of the mushy moms who fell apart when my kids passed milestones of childhood. I’m not a heartless person, but when I was in the midst of the busyness of being a single, working mother, I didn’t have time to dwell on the passage of time. I admit I was happy when they made new strides in independence because it helped decrease my parenting workload. It’s different for a grandparent.
Now that I’m a grandparent, time has taken on a different feeling. I find myself saying what every older person says, “Time is flying by way too fast!” The fast-forward button of life is stuck in the on position, and the grandkids are rocketing through the childhood milestones. Or is it my perception that has changed?
When I turned sixty-five several months ago, I began experiencing time differently. There’s something about reaching the Medicare milestone birthday that hit me hard. I’m officially old and more aware than ever that life has an expiration date. That type of thinking is destructive and accomplishes nothing, but it’s hard to shove it to the back part of your brain. All of a sudden, I look at my grandkids, and I realize how quickly their childhoods are passing. It’s morbid as heck, but the reality is I may not be there for all of it.
I want to be there for every loose tooth. I want to see them discover the world and decide who they are going to be. I want to revel in all the stages of their lives while holding on to the past. It seems strange, but I miss the little toddler Callister while simultaneously celebrating his growing into a big kid with gaping holes where those baby pearly whites used to be. It may be just me, but I think this toothless stage is pretty cute! It’s okay with me if those adult teeth wait until Christmas to grow in!