Ten Grays Closer to a Streak

September 2, 2009 Poltergeist was one of the first horror movies I ever saw. I still remember how the mom, played by JoBeth Williams, showed up with a big, distinct gray streak at the end of the movie from the stress of being scared for her children’s lives. I keep thinking, especially on a day like today, that it will be a miracle if I don’t have one of those by the end of this whole ordeal.

Today, Jake knocked his front tooth out. We were, once again, in the cul-de-sac riding bikes and he was on his razor scooter, which he dearly loves. He is a bit young for the razor scooter, but Jake has an uncanny sense of balance and rides it as well as any 5-year-old. I turned to check on him just in time to see the scooter hit a rock, sending him flying over the handlebars, face first. I knew it was not going to be pretty. When I picked him up, his tooth was just hanging from his mouth and he reached up, pulled it out and threw it on the ground… it was every bit as gross as it sounds.

We couldn’t get our dentist on the phone (ironically, two of the hygenists had been by the house that afternoon to bring Tanner a gift and wish her well), but called a friend who is a pediatric dentist who told us there is really nothing you can do as long as it was knocked out root and all, which it was.

Amazingly, he didn’t have any other loose teeth and didn’t cut any other part of his face… must have been a direct hit.

I had a moment when I was sitting on the curb with him, a washcloth pressed up against his mouth to stop the bleeding, when I just thought I would like to go back in time before I had kids and redo things. When I only had to worry about myself. It was a fleeting thought, but in the interest of honesty, I must admit to having it. I think I am about 10 gray hairs closer to that JoBeth Williams streak.

It’s not that Jake losing a tooth is the worst thing that ever happened. I mean, I lost both my front teeth at three after having run into a little boy’s forehead, teeth first. And, 45 minutes after Jake lost his, he was happily sucking on a popsicle and shoving tiny pieces of buttered bread in his mouth. No evidence that the gaping hole where his tooth once was bothered him at all. And, as Tanner happily pointed out while I was still trying to stop the bleeding, “Good for you, Jake. You can put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy will bring you money.”

It’s just that some days, I think I’ve had enough. I’m especially over that sickening adrenaline rush you get when your kids are hurt. I may have a heart attack long before I ever get that gray streak.

But, we get up and move on. People do it all the time. People with much worse problems than mine. A family I read about in the news has one little girl with leukemia and the other with recurring brain tumors. Jake’s tooth seems hardly worth mentioning when I think about that family.

So bring it on. I’m not afraid of a little gray. In the wise words of my 6-year-old daughter, “It’s just hair.”


P.S. We are just $25 short of $3,000 donated in honor of Tanner’s Light the Night team. Our goal is $5,000 and we have until October 1 to raise it. Thank you to everyone who has donated and who has volunteered to walk in honor of Tanner that evening. We are deeply touched by these acts on generosity on behalf of our girl. To donate and/or join the team, go to http://pages.lightthenight.org/tn/MidTN09/TeamTanner.

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