Loose Teeth

Branches drag water

pull trunk taunt from the shoreline

to taste the current,

form unimagined ripples,

yet never sever their roots.

Lately, my husband and I have been thinking of ways to help our 3rd grader express his emotions. At school this year, he has had difficulty handling any reprimands from his teacher and either becomes really goofy or bursts into tears. There are some focus/attention-related issues going on as well, but long story short, I had the idea that he might connect to some of the writing I did as a 3rd grader. I used writing a lot then (and still do, obvs.) as a way to cope with difficult emotions.

I ended up digging out my diary from when I was in 3rd grade! I couldn’t believe I had it in a box in our basement. I could picture it in my mind before I went downstairs: a little 4″ by 6″ lined book with a metallic glitter cover and broken lock on the side. It was the first diary I ever kept, the first in a long line of journals, notebooks, chicken scratch on Post-Its, fiction manuscripts on various laptops in various states of completion, WordPress drafts, et cetera ad nauseum.

He loved it! I read the first few entries out loud to him, and then he devoured the rest in one sitting. I guess a 3rd grader in 2022 can still be intrigued by a 3rd grader from 1997. His school is hosting a Book Fair this week, and he was first in line to purchase– you guessed it– his own little diary. Its cover features a Minecraft pattern, something 3rd grade me could never have imagined, and a functional lock with two keys (I believe he’s already misplaced both). It is so special to see something that was important to me and that has been important to me for so long resonating with him.

All that said, I have to share an excerpt from the diary because some pages were so hilarious that I nearly fell off the couch while reading them to my husband last night. 3rd-grade Sarah didn’t yet have a solid grasp of sentence structure, but I’m going to leave it as is. My apologies to any other English teachers or grammarians.

Monday, July 7, 1997:

Dear Diary,

It is still summer. I used to believe in the Tooth Fairy but yesterday I lost my tooth and I put it in an envelope and put the envelope under my pillow. In the middle of the night, I felt a tug on my envelope because I was holding onto it so I would wake up but I pretended to be asleep so that I could find out how the Tooth Fairy looks, BUT there was no Tooth Fairy, there was my mom, but she didn’t notice me. I wonder what parents do with all of the teeth they collect from their children?

XOXO Sarah”

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