I can handle a lot of things when it comes to my kids. Quite frankly, I have a fairly high pain tolerance and I'm not so strong on the empathy thing. Put those two traits together and I could be a hardened criminal. Thankfully, I'm just a horrible parent.
Okay, maybe I'm being over dramatic and maybe I should just get on with the story before we all need therapy.
Owen complains of a tooth ache, so I schedule a trip to the dentist. That's the correct response, right? Exactly, except that this would be his first dental check up ever. The child is almost 6 years old and we're just now thinking about oral hygiene on a professional level? Strike one.
Actually we had double appointments. I thought it was about time for a cleaning myself, since I haven't been in five years either. Aren't I a good example? Strike two.
Come to find out, Owen had three cavities. Oh Hillary, you're such a drama queen. Three cavities is not that big of a deal. Well, what if I told you that two of them were so bad, they had to be extracted? Strike three.
Owen's lying down in the dentist's chair without a care in the world. Honestly, I couldn't have been prouder. (Now let's just hope Blake never gets has any teeth issues. We'd probably have to sedate him.)
However, that deep feeling of pride didn't last long. It quickly turned to sadness and then regret. Here I am standing in this exam room, balling my eyes out, as my happy go lucky child has his first tooth pulled.
Actually that's a lie. I had to leave the room. It's funny how I can sit through broken arms, shots, child birth (not that I had a choice on that one) and never have I lost my composure. I never wanted them to be scared.
But this time was different. This was my fault. Why didn't I make him brush and floss, and rinse twice a day religiously? Why didn't I take him to the dentist sooner and more often?
In the aftermath of this experience, I have to say that things will be different from now on. Lesson learned. Blake already has an appointment for his first check up (a two years earlier than Owen) and guess what? Now we are forcing them to brush their teeth twice a day, no excuses.
I guess Owen is like a wake-up call for us. Let's just hope we don't fall asleep again. What we do as parents has a tremendous impact on our children, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. If we don't parent, then we're depriving them a solid future.
Now I've let go of some of the guilt and regret. Just seeing my child rush home to show everyone his tooth and the look of surprise and excitement when he pulled the quarter out from under his pillow the next morning...well, that was enough for me.
Kids really are so resilient, a constant reminder that there's still time to change our wicked ways. I'm not a horrible mom. I know that, but I certainly have areas in which I can grow and mature. Consistency and routine is one of them. It's not that I didn't care about dental hygiene. It's just that life seems so rushed all the time. Sometimes even the important things fall down on the priority list.