Of tooth fairies and fairy godmother

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 04:05 AM

Before I had a child of my own I was confronted with a situation that made me question my aptitude in the event I ever had one.

I was at the anniversary picnic of my friends Ann and Peter when a conversation I was having was suddenly interrupted by the loud sobbing of a small child. I turned my head to see it was a little girl, about seven or eight years old.

“My tooooooooooth!” the girl wailed. She opened her mouth to reveal a tooth so loose that surely it was on the very verge of coming out.

Only it wasn’t. And the child was clearly freaked out about it. So was her distressed mother, who said to me in a trembling voice, “I don’t know how to handle this.”

To my surprise, neither did I. I had an instant and squeamish childhood recollection of a stubbornly dangling loose tooth…and proceeded to say the one thing sure to confirm how horrible it was: “Ewww!”

When she realized that not one, but two adults were failing to get her out of this predicament, the little girl’s wails escalated until they carried over the entire park.

My friend Ann walked briskly over and asked what was wrong. Practically wringing our hands in unison, the girl’s mother and I relayed the situation with the tooth.

Ann put two fingers into the little girl’s mouth. “This tooth?” she asked, holding it up in the air.

For a moment, the child was too speechless to respond. Then she gave a broad grin and answered in the affirmative. Her mother and I exchanged glances: why didn’t either of us think to do this?

I’ve obviously never forgotten the incident, and when Sage first told us his tooth was loose I prayed I wouldn’t let down another child in need of a competent adult.

This past Tuesday night, he called me excitedly from upstairs to tell me the tooth had finally come out. I dashed up to his room. There my son stood, the proud smile on his face exposing a brand new vacancy.

“My! So it just fell out?” I asked him, marveling over the tooth resting in the palm of his hand.

“No, I pulled it,” he answered nonchalantly.

There’s no real moral to this tale, other than to mention that the Tooth Fairy is real – I’m convinced she’s my friend Ann and I’ve been meaning for years to tell her so. Oh, and to point out that it helps to have an unflappable child if your own parenting style tends to be, er, flappable.

•••

Speaking of fairies, I just came across another real life incarnation of these supposedly mythical beings.

It turns out if you’re a woman in Rutherford County who has fallen into trouble…deep, heart-wrenching trouble…you have several fairy godmothers (and a fairy godfather or two) waiting to lift you gently out of it.

I’m talking about Kriss Landry and her fellow board-members of Abounding Grace Ministry. They’ve just opened the Grace Center in Rutherfordton, a refuge of Christian ministry and support for women who have recently left the Rutherford County detention facility.

I imagine that for many of these women, stepping into the charming two-story cottage will feel like entering a brand new world.

Flowered rugs and soothing wall paint colors give the home a pretty, comforting appeal in almost all the rooms – like the library where the women can check out inspirational books, and the cozy nook where they’ll gather for conversation and Bible studies. A room upstairs will have racks of attractive clothes for women in need of something suitable to wear for job interviews and the like.

There’s one room that has a décor style all of its own – the children’s playroom. Here a row of brand new toys has been set out, waiting to be played with by visiting girls and boys while their moms are choosing an outfit, perhaps, or meeting with a mentor. There’s a soft carpet on the floor, and fanciful murals painted on the walls.

Going forward, the Grace Center will need financial and other donations for monthly operations, plus more volunteers. Contact Kriss Landry at 828-429-0289 to find out how you can help.

A final note: whoever donated the money to purchase the lovely house that Grace Center now calls home is a real-life fairy godmother herself. But since she’s requested anonymity, she’ll likely remain a forever mysterious one.

 

Stephanie Janard is a mother and full-time copywriter. She lives in Spindale. To reach Stephanie, email sjanard@msn.com