Hope has a loose tooth. It’s true. It seems really early to me, but, luckily, the husband of one of the staff ladies up here is a dentist and he assured me that there was no trauma and that her permanent tooth is just making it’s way up and pushing the baby tooth out of the way. It will probably fall out within the next two months. So, it’s all perfectly normal and yet I felt this rush of fear. Seriously, it was my first real taste of this kind of sickening fear. I have alluded to it in the past. “Oh…my children are growing up too fast.”; “I can’t believe she is already doing that. It happens so fast.”; “It seems like she was a baby such a short time ago.” etc. Yeah…this wasn’t that. This was a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, rapid heart beat, feeling hot all over kind of fear. And then, I got mad at the permanent tooth.
I mean, how dare that little tooth get to say when my baby becomes a big girl. How dare that tooth push its way through her gums as if to say, “I’m here. I’m a grown up tooth and I don’t have any use for that baby tooth anymore. Get out of here, baby tooth.” And then, it manhandles that baby tooth right out of it’s comfy gums and shoves it right out of her mouth. How rude!
Okay, this may seem a little overdramatic, but here’s the deal. I think I resent the grown up tooth because it is such a huge symbol of all that is to come. The things that represent Hope’s childhood will soon start to slowly disappear. Not only that, they will be replaced with things that will carry her into womanhood. Permanent teeth. The teeth she will have when she starts to date and gets married and has children. And, I’m not really ready. I thought I was ready. When some of my friend’s children started loosing their baby teeth I thought, “Wow! We are next. Won’t that be fun?!?” Turns out, not so fun. At least not at the moment.
I know this is just the first of those many moments when I will feel desperate to hang on to a part of her childhood that it is time to let go of. Lord, give me the strength to let go. The teensiest part of me is excited, though. I know that moving forward means a lot of hopeful, happy things, too. There is so much that I want to teach her about life, and identity, and boys, and friends, and God. So much that I get to journey through with her.
Last night, when she discovered her loose tooth, Hope was teary at first…worried about it. Then, when we told her she was getting to be a big girl and her tooth was gonna fall out soon, she broke out in a huge grin. A little while later, she secretly confided in me, “Mom…I’m kinda nervous.” My thoughts exactly.