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Tooth Fairy Letter #5

Over the years, my daughters have had a private correspondence with a very special  . . . um, being.  These are personal and sensitive messages that, until recently, have been secreted in a shoebox under the bed.  We think, perhaps, that enough time has passed.  Please be gentle with them.

Tooth Fairy Letter #5, Found January 23, 2006


Dear Emma,

Well, it’s been awhile. Do you remember the last time I made a visit? That was way back in September. A lot has happened since then. You are really growing up fast! This is the fifth tooth you’ve lost already. And the sixth one isn’t far behind!

The last letter I wrote to you had to be pretty short because you got to bed at 10:00. This one won’t be much longer. You got to bed at 9:30! But I know that your mom and dad played volleyball last night. So it wasn’t all your fault you got to bed late.

Anyway, awhile back I was beginning to tell you about the secret behind my magic fairy dust. Do you remember the part about how children’s teeth are magical, and I grind them up into a fine powder? But then I also need a special secret ingredient to release the magic. Remember, Emma, that I said it had to do with bees?

Well, this is the secret ingredient—bee pollen! And there are all different kinds depending on the recipe you (or more precisely) the bees make. Do you know what bee pollen is Emma? Do you know where it comes from?

Well, I don’t have time to tell you right now. But unlike everything I’ve told you about the magic, the mystery of bee pollen is not a secret. Just look it up in a book (I know what a good reader you are), or ask your teacher. Your parents probably know too.

Well, until next time, keep being the truly wonderful magical girl that you are. You really are special. You can do anything that you decide to do. All you have to do is try! You are so smart and talented. But another thing that you are is (don’t tell anybody) magic!

Yep. You didn’t even know it did you? Some people have real magic in them. Some don’t. But you do! I can see it! It helps you to do the things that you try to do—even when you are a little afraid to do them! Actually the magic helps you the most when you ARE a little afraid to try something—but you try anyway. I’ll explain more about that next time. It’s time for me to fly.

The Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy

P.S. I hope you can start to stay in your own bed soon. I know you really want to. The magic works much better for you when you do. Plus it makes it easier for me to find you and leave you these messages. When you move around, I kind of loose sight of you.

Tooth Fairy Letter #4

The Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy Letter #4, Found September 17, 2005


Dear Emma,

You must think I‘m magic or something. I mean, you go to bed at 10:00 and still think that I have time to get organized, collect teeth from children all over the world and write you a letter?

Well, you are right—I am magic!

And you sure are cute without those two front teeth.

Have you guessed the secret ingredient yet? Yep, it’s pollen. Each type of pollen (depending on the flower it came from) combined with different amounts of magic tooth dust creates a different type of magical fairy dust.

Pretty cool, huh.

Well, more next time. I really have to get going—before the sun comes up.


The Tooth Fairy

15 Minutes

Emma and Nora,

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that you just never know.


I mean . . . 15 minutes.  That’s not nearly enough time.  But at least I get the chance to do this.  Not many do.  And so, I’m going to leave you with this:

I love you.

More than anything.  Ever.  I love . . .  You are . . .  a part of me.  A big part.  And I could go on, but just know that, okay? I love you.  Hugely.   Immensely.  Powerfully.

And now, because I am, after all, your father . . . I just have to do this.  You know.  I can’t be here now, so I need to leave you with some markers.  Some landmarks.  Some light posts.

Live it.

All that sentimental stuff you read in poetry about every moment being sacred, and enjoy the journey and all that?  Sure it’s true, but, seriously . . . every moment?  Our brains just aren’t wired that way.  Just do the best you can.

Be aware.

You can’t stop it.  The world, the stress, the energy.  It’s all just here.  Swirling.  Open up to it.  Accept it.  Love it.  Enjoy it.

Because, really–you can’t screw it up.

So relax.  Just do the best you can, and search for the humor in it all.  There is power in humor.  More power than any of us can really grasp.  Follow it.  The path of whimsy is straight and I think it’s true.  And if it’s not, you can at least be sure it won’t hurt you.

It’s safe.  Trust that.

There’s much more to say here about humor, and I’d love to show you a way to attach it to forgiveness, but the clock’s ticking here and I need to get on to a few other big guiding principles.

Your mom is awesome. I love her too.  And I’d write her if I had more time.  My point is, listen to her.  She’s got a good head.  But she may not always be able to help.  And in those cases, when you’re agonizing over a decision, ask yourself which is the path of love . . . for others sure, but mostly—for yourself.

Love yourself.

Take care of yourself.  Be gentle.  Forgive yourself.  You’re fine.  You’re awesome!!  So please, for me, but mostly for you, don’t worry.  Live your life.  Seek and follow love, and humor, and light.

Understand also that there will be fear, and anger, and really—that’s okay.

It’s all good.  It’s all part of it.  Drill down and expose the fear.  Call it by name and bring it to the light.  Don’t resist it.  Tell the truth about it.  The sooner the better.

I absolutely love this from Joseph Campbell:

“We have not even to risk the hero’s adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known.

We have only to follow the thread of the hero path.

And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god.

And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.

Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.

And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”

–Joseph Campbell

Ooh, ooh and this one’s good too:

Come To The Edge–by Christopher Logue

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
and he pushed them,
and they flew.

Take risks. More often than not, you’ll surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.

And now my time (this time around) is up.  I’m sure we’ll bump into each other again.  We are connected and leaving you this time hurts.  But I leave today without fear.  I leave filled with hope.  And I know you will bring light into this world.


(What’s this all about?  Fear not, just my response to a writing prompt.)

Dear SCF School Board, and Community:

A letter from the teachers:

“Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?  Expediency asks the question, is it politic?  Vanity asks the question, is it popular?  But conscience asks the question, is it right?  And there comes a time when one must take a position, that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right!”  Dr. Martin Luther King

On Friday, February 18th, many teachers in the SCF school district broke the rules they agreed to uphold and traveled to Madison to protest the budget repair bill.  As a result, there were not enough subs to cover and Glenn Martin, in order to ensure the safety of the students, was forced to cancel school.

Though we were aware that our actions had the potential to close school, that was never our intent.  For most, this was a gut wrenching and difficult decision to make.  Not one of us made it lightly.  We were breaking a promise we made to a community that trusts us with their children.  This is a fact that weighed heavily on each of our hearts that day.  All day.

Still, we are not sorry that we went.

Many of us live in this community.  We have family and friends and neighbors that are counting on us to do our job–and we are saddened that many of you feel that we let you down.  Many are angry.  We have, no doubt, damaged some relationships and lost some trust. And so we come before you–guilty as charged.  We apologize for the disruption this caused.   Each of us takes full responsibility and are prepared to face the consequences.

Still, we are not sorry that we went.


About the middle of last week, when it began to be clear to us what was happening in Madison, and how the Budget Repair Bill would damage not only the core of a proud tradition of excellent education in Wisconsin, but also ripple through our communities with waves of painful unintended consequences–each of us took a hard look deep into our souls.  What we found there was a choice–to play it safe here in St. Croix Falls, or to stand up for all of our children, all of our futures, all of Wisconsin and what we believe to be right.

Collective bargaining has been happening in Wisconsin for over 50 years.  Statistically, states with collective bargaining score higher on ACT/SAT test.  Five states without collective bargaining and their respective ACT/SAT rank are Virginia (44th), Texas (47th), Georgia (48th) North Carolina (49th) and South Carolina (50th).  Wisconsin and Minnesota tied for 2nd.

This is not about money.  This is not about pensions, or health care, or benefits or salary.  This is about the right to sit down at the table to discuss, to collaborate, to negotiate, to work together to solve the complex problems that we face today.  This is collective bargaining.  This is negotiation.  This is what we teach our students to do every day.  To collaborate.  To negotiate.  To work together. To appreciate differences and perspectives. But most of all–to stand up and do what’s right.

Even when you are standing alone.

The new kid

I just met the new kid. He seems kind of sad.

His mom’s got a new a boyfriend–which wasn’t so bad until out of the blue and for no reason he said,

“It’s me or the kid toots.
I don’t like the lad.”

So now he’s the new kid. He lives with his dad.