Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bye Bye Baby

Today Graham had two teeth pulled. His last two baby teeth were stubbornly refusing to give up their oral real estate; meanwhile, the adult permanent teeth were pushing ahead, crowding around the predecessors in their way. The dentist decided those baby teeth had to go.

Graham was a trooper throughout the process, despite his inherited disdain for dentists. As we awaited the elevator after his appointment, he pulled a small box from his pocket and said, "I'll go ahead and throw these away." He opened the box to look at his two teeth, then he threw them in the garbage, aware that there would be no visits from the tooth fairy tonight. We have never played that game with our children, not that we're anti-tooth-fairy, it just hasn't been a part of our family culture.

I don't save my children's teeth either. My mother-in-law saved all of David's baby teeth, and I have heard of many other mothers who do the same. Not me. I am squeamish, I am the antithesis of a pack rat, and I am not very sentimental--a recipe that results in a mom who simply throws away teeth for which the body no longer has a use. I would no sooner save a tooth than I would save the hair I pull out of my hairbrush.

But as Graham threw those teeth into the garbage, something in me wanted to cry. There in a public trash receptacle were the final pieces of anything about Graham that could be called "baby." I was suddenly sad we had them pulled, thereby forcing the last remnants of babyhood from my first-born son. Let the adult teeth wait! Give the babies just a few more weeks, or days. I'd settle for hours....

But alas, the adult teeth were not waiting patiently beneath Graham's gums. Rather, they were surging ahead, marching to the drumbeat of time and keeping pace with its relentless tempo. My thirteen year old has moved one step closer to adulthood, and while I rejoice in the young man that he is becoming, I am a little sad to be losing the baby boy that he was.

Today I pampered him a little. I was eager to indulge him, and he quite frankly didn't know what to do with me. He kept telling me that I did not need to do everything for him, that he is quite capable of taking care of himself, thank you very much. Still, I couldn't help myself. Something in me had a high need to mother today--not smother, just mother. And Graham, though reluctant to admit a need for anything, mercifully decided to humor me, for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment