I cried four times at the dentist's office this morning.
1) The Little Ballerina was getting her first filling. She freaked out after her tooth started going numb. She made it through the novocaine shot. The HARD part. And then she wouldn't go any further. The dentist coaxed and coaxed. Finally, she said she had to refer LB to a pediatric dentist instead.
So, I cried. Tears of frustration.
2) I cried because LB couldn't see that she was going to have to go through the HARD part all over again. At a place where they strap you down. Have a million patients in a big open space. Yet they have no patience.
We walked out of the office. LB clinging to her beloved bumpers. Me, walking briskly in front. Mad, irritated, frustrated. She asked why I was so mad. I told her about her upcoming fate. That I didn't want to go to that place. She stopped. Walked back inside, by herself, and told them she would try again.
So, I cried. Tears of relief.
3) While waiting for her, a woman in her 30's or 40's walked in trembling. She shared her xrays with the dental assistants. She said she was told she had to have all of her teeth extracted. They were rotting, breaking. They were infected. She couldn't eat. She was scared. She didn't have a lot of money. She didn't want to be without teeth. It was going to cost $875 at the "affordable denture" office.
So, I cried. Tears of empathy.
At that moment, I wished I had an extra $1000 to write her a check. To tell her to jump into the chair as soon as LB was done and get her teeth fixed. "Get it over with. Don't wait any longer. It will only get worse. You'll have to do it anyway. Get it over with." The same words I had just spoken to LB, I wanted to speak to her. I wanted to take her pain away.
4) A few minutes later, LB emerged from the room. She did it. She was elated. The dentist was elated. The assistant was elated. I was elated. She pushed through it. She conquered her fear. Her stubbornness. I knew it was going to be ok. She would not leave there today with a compounding fear of the dentist.
So, I cried. Tears of pride.
6)Backing up a bit to early this morning, I found out that a mom on my street died yesterday. She had a heart attack on Thursday and didn't make it.
So, I cried. Tears of shock.
7) She was in her 40's. She was fit. She was healthy.
So, I cried. Tears of fear.
8) Her husband had just survived an unsurvivable heart attack last year. Things were finally getting back on track. And now this.
So, I cried. Tears of incomprehension.
9) She has a daughter in 8th grade. A son just off to his first year of college.
So, I cried. Tears of overwhelming sadness. For children without a mother. For a mother who will miss out on her children.
10) Sitting here writing this...
I cried. Tears of selfish gratitude.
That the worst thing my family had to face today was a cavity.