Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hanging by a Thread

"Mom?  My tooth...there's something wrong," said my darling 5-year-old daughter. 

Her tooth had been loose for months.  It all started when she fell off one of our dining rooms chairs and hit the table mouth first a few months ago.  She chipped a tooth on top, and one on the bottom tilted forward at an alarming angle.  She looked like a hockey star, but was okay.  I adjusted her tooth and told her not to touch it.  She was fine.

When the dentist told her the tooth would probably fall out soon, it was on.  No matter how much I told her to keep her fingers out of her mouth, she refused.  She was Toothfairy Obsessed and wiggled, wiggled, wiggled that tooth.

Then it happened.  While trying to open the toy bag in her Happy Meal with her teeth, her tooth really came loose.  It was hanging by a thread, as they say.

"It's okay, baby.  Your tooth is finally going to come out.  Then the Toothfairy will come!" I said in an encouraging voice.  I could see by the look on her face in the rear view mirror that she was nervous.  "Don't worry, it won't hurt," I added.

"Okay, Momma," she replied.  It was right about at that moment that my heart broke a little.  My baby girl was growing up FAST.  I started thinking about what a big kid she was all of a sudden.  She graduated pre-school and will start Kindergarten in the fall.  She can read!  She had become a huge help with her two little brothers, keeping them entertained while I did chores around the house.  She learned how to vacuum, make her own PB & J, and even how to use the microwave.  Where did my baby go?  To make matters worse, Mike was in California for work.  Our baby was going through a huge milestone, and he wasn't there.  I felt anxious and sad.

I noticed she wasn't eating.  "Sweetheart, it might take a few days for your tooth to finally fall out.  Why don't you eat?"

"I'm scared I'll swallow my tooth.  Then the tooth fairy won't come."

"Don't be scared.  Try chewing with the teeth that aren't loose.  Take little bites.  That's what I used to do when my teeth were loose like yet."

"Good idea, Mom.  Thanks."  My heart was breaking.

For the rest of the day, I watched her delicately touch her tooth and take little bites while eating.  When brushing her teeth before bed, she was equally hesitant, so I helped her brush. 

"What if I swallow my tooth while I'm asleep?!?!" she asked in a panicked voice before bed. 

"You won't, don't worry.  Now try to get some sleep," I said as I kissed her goodnight.  It was nice to have my normally very independent daughter need her Momma again.  I just wished Mike could be with us too.


"MOM!  MOM!  MY TOOTH...IT FELL OUT!" she yelled at about 5:10am the next morning, waking both me & Baby P from peaceful slumber.

"That's great, baby!"  I said sleepily.  "Let me see it."

When she handed the tooth to me, I was shocked.  I could not believe how small her tooth was, much smaller than even a popcorn kernel, almost comically small.  "Wow, look how little it is, sweetie.  Just an itty, bitty baby tooth like Baby P's teeth.  You'll grow some big girl teeth now, and you have to take really good care of them because you will have your adult teeth for the rest of your life."

"Wow," she said and then hesitated.  "Hey Mom?"


"Do you know how to spell toothfairy?"

"Yes, I do.  Why?"

"Could you help me write a note to the toothfairy today?"

"Sure, why?"

"I don't want the toothfairy to take my tooth until Daddy can see it." 

My heart was simultaneously breaking and swelling, although I'm not sure how that is possible. 

Too.  Much.  Love.

Here is my baby girl holding her itty, bitty baby tooth & note for the toothfairy.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"

In Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address, he spoke to Americans in the grips of the Great Depression.  He famously told them, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  He continued to describe fear as, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes..."  He was right.  FEAR IS PARALYZING.  It keeps us from doing the things we should do.  It keeps us from living the lives we are meant to live.

Think of the things you have been afraid of in life.  Think of your fears now.

Thinking of my children, I'm surprised by how timeless and universal their fears are.  They fear anything that causes pain.  They fear rejection.  They fear darkness.  As adults, don't we hold the same fears?

Right now, I can quell my children's fears with band-aids, hugs and kisses, and nightlights.  Yet, things seem to get more complicated as we get older, but maybe things don't get more complicated at all.  Maybe we just tell ourselves "it's complicated" because we are paralyzed with fear-- unable to make a decision, unable to move forward, unable to live the lives we are meant to live, the lives God wants us to live.

File:Gustave Dore Inferno34.jpg
When I think about being paralyzed with fear, I think of Dante's Inferno.  I think of how Dante described the ninth circle of Hell as a place where traitors were held frozen in ice, unable to escape.  I think of satan frozen in ice, beating his wings as if trying to escape, although the cold wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment and the imprisonment of others.

I can't help but conclude that failing to live the lives God wants for us is like living Hell on Earth.  Certainly, it is satan who creates fear in our lives.  He doesn't want us to us to be happy.  He doesn't want us to serve God.  Satan wants us to doubt ourselves and to doubt God.  Satan wants us frozen with fear on Earth, much like Dante's depiction of satan frozen in Hell.

Dear readers, please don't let your fears prevent you from the plan of life God destined for you.  You are special.  Your life has purpose.  God has a plan for you.  Open yourself to His will. 

In case you're wondering, God's will is always easy to identify in our lives.  If something is God's will, while there may be distractions or moments of failure, you will always find the same path, the same suggestion or pull, come up over and over again in your life.  I find the more I stay on the path, the easier my journey becomes.  If something is against God's will.  It will fall apart.  Plain and simple.

While our Heavenly Father does not give us (His children) band-aids, hugs & kisses, and flashlights to quell our fears, He does provide us with the Real Presence, the Sacraments, and the guidance of our holy Mother Church.  It is up to us to seek out God's comfort, strength, and grace to get through the difficult moments in our lives.  Understand that we are not alone when we are afraid.  God is always with us.   With Him, all things are possible.

"He said to them, 'Because of your little faith.  Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."

--Matthew 17:20