On the playground last week a second-grade boy ran up and said, “Stevie lost his tooth!” and I replied, “That’s great!”
You see, when you work with seven-year-olds, teeth fall like mortgage rates this past year. Down they come every day (not so much lately though, huh?). Often, I watch loose teeth being shifted around by a tongue, ones that hang by threads, or just a proud, big space. I see fallen teeth that have been bagged or put in “the envelope” or shared with me from the palm of a small hand, like a treasure. So, hearing about a lost tooth that morning was just another chance for me to smile and say, “Wow, that’s great!”
Or was it?
Twenty seconds later, a different second grader ran to me and said, “Stevie’s tooth is knocked out!”
I was getting suspicious; this didn’t sound like the standard tooth loss.
“Yikes, was it a permanent one?” I asked while walking briskly to the blacktop. Then I saw Stevie with his bloody sweatshirt in his mouth, blood around his cheeks, and even a splat on his forehead. There were no tears, just lots of blood and a gaping hole where his permanent front tooth used to hang. Yes, a permanent one, that was now held tightly in his dirty, little hand. My heart gulped as I put my arm around him and we scurried to the office where I cleaned him up and they called his Mother.
In light of little Stevie’s experience I felt grateful that Lucas did not lose most of his tooth because for Christmas Little Stevie is getting his first root canal and false front tooth. Thus, rewriting the famous Christmas Carol, “All I want for Christmas is my first fake tooth.”