Well, this morning kind of sucked.
A couple weeks ago I noticed Noah had what I was pretty sure was a cavity in one of his molars. It had shown up really suddenly, and it totally took me by surprise!
I had his teeth cleaned a couple months ago and it seemed like things were fine.
Turns out…they weren’t fine.
It seriously pains me to write these next words: after x-rays, we discovered that Noah has SIX cavities.
I felt the sting of tears instantly hit my eyes.
The dentist said, “Six” and all I heard was, “Failure.”
I’m so paranoid about their teeth! How did this happen?!
He must have sensed my total panic and bewilderment, because he started talking to me in a really gentle voice and started doing a lot of reassuring.
He explained that four of the cavities are minor and the two that are pretty significant probably started when he was 2 years old and are just now presenting themselves. He reiterated how great his teeth look now and how healthy they seem, so it’s so great that we probably held all of these cavities off for a really long time.
Again, all I heard is, “Yes, you are obviously doing a great job – doesn’t matter. He’s still got six cavities and his whole life ahead of him. Dentures by 25 for sure.”
You guys, he said all really nice things. He told Noah that he should be really proud of how great his teeth look and that he can tell that the care we’ve taken has paid off and has helped his teeth so much. He told me very sternly that it’s not my fault.
I’m not there, yet. It feels a lot like it’s my fault.
I feel terrible that my sweet boy has been trusting me with his mouth and apparently I’ve been screwing it up! I feel awful that he’s going to have to sit in that stupid dentist chair with that stupid bright light shining in his eyes and endure fillings. I hate that he’s here at all, and it feels an awful lot like it’s my fault.
If this weren’t during this writing challenge, I probably would have waited to write this post, so that I could process my feelings and wrap things up nicely for you, maybe even included a little encouragement for you.
Problem…Guilt…Processing…Freedom and Grace.
But I think that’s the great part about this challenge. I don’t need to wait, and I shouldn’t. Being honest and vulnerable is just this – telling it how it is right now.
And right now, it’s hearing Noah tell people over and over that he has six cavities and that it’s going to cost approximately $25,000 to fix it (for the record, that part is not true). It’s being pretty sure that as soon as that’s out there, everyone inevitably thinks, “Whoa. Heard of a toothbrush? Shame. Shame! SHAME!”
So there it is. No bow. Not a lot of processing. Just me feeling pretty sucky and slightly like a failure.
Tomorrow is another day.
I’ll show up then and it’ll be better.
cover photo: Shannon O’Toole