Long after I had suspected that the Tooth Fairy might be a load of crap, I made a different discovery.
Let me back up. Like most little girls, I was fascinated with the things on top of my mother’s dresser. Little glass boxes filled with random, mismatched jewelry; a basket full of makeup; fluffy brushes; a little plastic McDonald’s coffee stirrer she used for mixing two shades of liquid foundation (this was the 80s when everyone was inexplicably pink-tinged and never looked right); pictures. I don’t think my mom wore perfume, but if I catch a whiff of the right moisturizer or Shaklee makeup I’m sent right back to my childhood.
But one day, I found another glass box. It was tucked away, a little further back on the dresser that was so much taller than me. And in it, were a bunch of baby teeth. Some of which had remnants of dried blood.
Now, I understand that some mothers keep that kind of stuff. But I had no clue at the time! What theory was I supposed to come up with upon finding her freaky tooth collection, what might a child in South Louisiana think of all this?
Yes, I was convinced my sweet, church choir-singing mother was going to try to put a hex on me. No lie. I put the box back very carefully and kept my eye on her. I got suspicious when we had chicken, wanting to see if she kept the bones. When she put me to bed, I pretended to go to sleep and then snuck out to spy on her as she sat in the living room. I spent a lot of time crouched in the foyer, peering around the corner. I never caught her, but I did get to see some late night TV.
I’m sure I must have eventually asked my mother, like a week or two later. I remember her laughing really hard at me (though, to be fair, that happened a lot). And I’m certain she assured me that she had no creepy use for my teeth other than a warped sense of sentimentality.
But still . . .