We had another dreaded visit to the Pediatric Dentist yesterday. Ava had a tooth pulled 2 weeks ago to make room for an appliance designed to right her back tooth which is growing in at an angle. She was so brave, doing everything the dentist asked her to do, but it's painful for a mom to watch her child going through something so challenging. I wanted to crawl into the dentist's chair and have him glue the metal contraption into my mouth instead of Ava's.
The appliance had been explained to me in detail, but it seemed more involved than I was expecting. It is a metal band with a wire, then a button and a hook glued onto her back tooth, and it's all connected by an elastic "chain" designed to be pulled tighter at each visit to move the tooth forward.
At one point while he was working in her mouth, Ava began shaking slightly, her mouth trembling, and I noticed tears squeezing out of her closed eyes. I asked her what was wrong, and she began to cry and said something was really hurting. The dentist stopped immediately, investigated, and saw that the metal wire was poking her in the gums. He adjusted it and she stopped crying. Ava doesn't cry easily in front of others, and in the van after she said, "I was trying to be brave and not complain, but that thing poking me really did hurt."
We went to McDonalds for Happy Meals as a treat before returning Ava to school. Ava barely ate anything because she was finding the appliance so uncomfortable in her mouth. It's so hard to walk our kids through these difficult experiences. It will all be worth it in the end, for her to have a bite that is straight, but right now it's not easy. I'm inspired by her bravery. I'd like to think that I've shown her how to face tough situations head on and get the unpleasantness over with, but some of it comes from her own unique personality, and it's a good thing for a parent to be inspired by her child.
By dinner she was eating better and figuring out a way around the metal in her mouth. I hosted our first writer's group and the kids went to sleep like little angels without disturbing our meeting (I was worried because Jason was in Vancouver for the night). It all clicked into place and worked.
After an inspiring evening of talking about writing, I tucked them in, watched them sleeping and marveled for a moment at how wonderful my children are. For all of my complaining that I don't have enough time to write, or that I crave silence and time for myself, my kids are such a source of joy. They are healthy, and happy, and we have been blessed beyond measure. Instead of focusing on the hardships of yesterday, I'm going to be thankful for everything good in our lives, and resist the urge to complain.