Little Kayla sat near the Christmas tree and wiggled her lose tooth. She stopped and turned her attention from the crackling fire beyond the hearth. “Mommy, if I pull my tooth, do you think Santa will leave me a dollar.”
Her mother laughed. “I think you have things mixed up, honey. It’s the tooth fairy who leaves money.”
Kayla cocked her head and flashed that familiar look of independence. “I know that, Mommy! But if my tooth falls out at tonight, maybe Santa will reward me, too. I’m not sure if the Tooth Fairy works on Christmas Eve.”
Although only four, the child had a penchant for being creative. Margaret Tanner put her knitting aside and walked past her daughter to the fireplace. She poked at the logs and sent flaming fingers stretching up the chimney. “I don’t think Santa will have time to look under your pillow. You know, he’s very busy this time of year.” She walked back to her chair.
The front door opened, and a blast of cold air flickered the fire. “Daddy, daddy,” Kayla called, rushing over and grabbing him around the knees.
He ruffled her hair with his gloved hand. “Hi, Sweetheart. Let me get out of my coat and I’ll give you a hug. It’s cold outside.” He shrugged off his outerwear, sending snow flaking to the marbled entry hall floor. After shedding his gloves and hanging his coat in a nearby closet, he scooped Kayla into his arms and nuzzled her neck until she giggled. Stopping, he leaned his head back. “Have you been a good girl today?”
“Oh yes, Daddy, and I’ve decided you can pull my loose tooth.”
He flashed a puzzled look at his wife.
She smiled. “We’ve already discussed the tooth fairy, but Kayla seems to think Santa should play a part.”
Russell placed Kayla on the ground, took her hand, and walked to his plaid recliner. Sitting, with her perched on his knee, he scratched his brow. “Why don’t we just wait until that tooth falls out on its own? There’s no rush.”
“But, I want you to pull it.” Her eyes clouded with tears and her little bow lips pulled into a pout.
“Then, let me see.” He took hold of the loose tooth and wiggled it. “You’re right. I think it could come out.” Russell Tanner ruffled her hair again.
“Then pull it, Daddy.” She scrunched her eyes closed and hunched her shoulders.
“I already did.” He held up a tiny, white enamel pearl.
Her eyes widened. She smacked her lips then made a face. A wee bit of blood dotted her bottom lip.
“Come on, Kayla,” her mother called. “Let’s rinse out your mouth and get you ready for bed. Santa comes tonight and if you aren’t asleep, he’ll just pass us by.”
Kayla slid off her father’s knee and flashed a smile. She looked adorable with a space where her tooth was just minutes ago. “Thank you, Daddy. I wanted to see if Santa will leave me a dollar so I can put it in the offering plate at church tomorrow. It’s Jesus’ birthday and I want to leave him a gift.”