Teeth

It’s a blessing to have a large family, to have memories of the older children rekindled when the younger ones pass through the same life transitions.

I was reminded tonight of just how traumatic losing a tooth can be.  Have you ever thought about that?  I mean, REALLY thought about it?  You are starting to lose cute little parts of you that have been with you for years.  And when that number of years is basically the equivalent of your entire life minus about six months . . . well, that is quite a transition. 

One of our little ones has a very loose bottom front tooth.  She keeps complaining about it hurting her.  Being one to always try to find solutions to life’s problems, I very practically offered to wiggle it ten times every morning and every evening, to help along the falling-out process.  She hesitantly agreed.  Earlier today, she was fine with it.  Tonight, though, we could barely make it to the count of five before she collapsed in tears.

My motherly heart swelled with love when I watched our oldest, our college-bound senior, lay down on the floor with her little sister.  She told her little sister how she once had a loose tooth that she kept flicking with her tongue to wiggle it around.  Strangely, the two ends of the tooth were attached to her gum, but the middle of the tooth was not.  She was wiggling it during a piano lesson and somehow managed to flip it upside down.  And then she couldn’t flip it back!  Because she was playing the piano, she had to put up with the upside-down tooth until the end of the lesson. 

I’m not sure if this story comforted our little one much, but it made me laugh.  And witnessing our two girls together brought back a memory which has been dormant in my mom-brain for years: when our college-bound senior lost her first tooth.  Being that we were first-time parents in the losing-tooth business, we decided to “do the Tooth Fairy”.  Both my husband and I had her as part of our childhood, so we figured that we would do the same with our children.  It was a pretty tricky endeavor, trying to sneak quietly into our daughter’s bedroom while scolding myself that I had forgotten to use WD-40 on her bedroom door hinges earlier that day.  Somehow we managed to swap out that precious little tooth with a crisp one-dollar bill and make it back out without a stir from her.

We felt pretty pleased with ourselves–until the next morning.  We were woken by her entrance into our bedroom, crying and waving her crisp dollar bill.  Can you believe it?  She wanted her tooth back!!!  I don’t know . . . maybe she felt gypped or something.  Maybe she felt her tooth was worth at least a fiver?

That night, we repeated the routine.  Again, I had forgotten to use the WD-40.  But we swapped that dollar bill for her tooth.  She was so happy to get that tooth back.  Who even knows where that tooth is now . . . but for the next few days, we had one cheerful little girl on our hands.

So what is the point of my sharing this story with you?  Just that, in the midst of life, sad episodes can trigger happy memories and create new ones.  Sometimes, you just have to look for those little flickers of joy among the crosses of life. 

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