I just received my second acceptance letter from Chicken Soup. Apparently my story “A Healing Friendship” has made it to the final round for the “Dog’s Life” Anthology coming out next spring. It’s a story of our three-legged dog, Biscuit, and my middle son, Jack (yep, that's him in the picture). I wrote it several months and many stories ago, so I went back to read it this morning. It made my own eyes misty (PMS mood notwithstanding), so I guess that’s a good thing.
In his book of poems, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” Shel Silverstein writes: If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
Speaking of Jack, this child of mine is a dreamer (not unlike his mom). A day-dream believer, if you will. At ten and a half he still has all the faith in the world that Santa will shoot down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, Jack came into my bedroom as I was getting dressed for work, holding up a tooth he’d just lost.
“Gotta put it under my pillow!” he said, showing me the most recent tooth-sized space in his smile.
The next morning he came into my room (looking just a bit dejected) holding up the little snack-sized ziplock bag with the lonely little tooth inside.
“She forgot.” I said, mentally kicking myself. Damn, damn, damn! I always forget! Damn Tooth Fairy! I decided that at 10, Jack was old enough to know the truth. I’d just have to tell him that I was the tooth fairy. I went to the kitchen to grab my purse, and called out to Jack as I pulled out a couple ones from my wallet. He came in, saw the money, and asked, “What’s that for?”
I sighed. Here goes, I thought. “Well. I’m gonna buy your tooth off you.” I waited for the questions, the disbelief.
“Cool!” He grabbed the dollar bills, flashing the hole in his mouth yet again and started out of the room. “Hey mom?” Okay, now it’s coming. “Yes?”
“Maybe I’m just too old for the tooth fairy now,” he decided. “Would you buy all the rest of my teeth from me?”
On the way to school, he turned to me from the passenger seat, one eyebrow raised, “Mom? Are you the Tooth Fairy?”
“Well, Jack,” I answered matter-of-factly, “If I am, I’m not a very good one.”
He smiled, leaned in to kiss my cheek, and that was that.
…If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire, for we have some flax golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!
I love my little day-dream believer.