Families have a lot of quirks; particularly in terms of which mementos they save over the years. From photographs to material possessions to brochures of visited places to finger paintings from elementary school, you never know what will appear years later while visiting home. A few days before I came home to visit, my father informed me that he had saved the baby teeth from all of my sisters and me as well as the accompanying notes that we wrote to the Tooth Fairy. He hasn’t actually shown us the teeth yet, but he will. (My dad played the Tooth Fairy and always left us one dollar for our tooth and some “fairy dust” – glitter. Come to think of it, I did always wonder why the Tooth Fairy’s response looked like Dad’s handwriting. And the Easter Bunny’s, too…)
Perhaps saving baby teeth is a bit weird to someone who is not a parent, but it seems to fall in the same category as saving a lock of hair after a child’s first haircut. And just as my dad saves the letters that we wrote to the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus, I have saved the letters written in response. Someday we’ll piece them together to remember what we were thinking as young children. So while I’m not fond of looking at old teeth, I like to have letters from long ago, however silly they are.
Does anyone else have parents who have secretly saved childhood “mementos” to bring out of storage at random times? It’s always interesting to come home, but it’s also comforting to fit into my family, where we all have similar quirks. And such a factor is the root of our shared identity.
If you’re wondering about the glitter – it was perfectly acceptable in a family of four girls.