Haddie lost a tooth today. Technically I pulled it and then I cried.
I don’t remember my mom crying when I lost teeth, but I just couldn’t help myself. Before I knew it my eyes, stinging, filled with salty water and spilled over. I remember carrying her pink and toothless into our snug little apartment just seven short years ago. I remember cheering the day her first tooth popped through.
“Look, can you see it, daddy? If you don’t see it, you certainly can feel it if you rub your finger along her gums.” We were two proud parents. I think it was those precious, wonderful years that the tooth symbolized for me that turned the waterworks on today.
It goes fast, yes? You blink and that tubby baby is a gangly school kid. She’s reading, she’s adding and subtracting, she’s riding her bike like a pro, and she is losing her baby teeth one-by-one. And while the years are short, the days can seem long. Some days it feels like feet go round and it is all you can do to serve three square meals and you long for the peace and quiet that comes when house and inhabitants are asleep.
Then here I stood tears sliding down my cheek, back turned, remembering all the joy this sweet girl with this missing tooth has brought our home. And quickly doing the math – “in 7 more years she would be 14 and oh my, that was terribly close to college-aged” – realizing what this meant, considering how the first 7 just sped by. It didn’t help with the tears.
Haddie was curious why mommy was crying. I hadn’t been so good at hiding the evidence, apparently. Even with my back turned. “I love you Haddie and I am so, so glad to be your mommy. These are happy tears,” was offered. A gapey grin and the words, “I love you too mom,” were my reward. Bliss.
It’s moments like these that remind us what really matters in life. They remind us why we do what we do. These precious children we have been given are gifts, truly. And we only have them at home with us for a short season. One day too soon they will enter the dance of life. And while their lives will forever be intertwined with our own, our role will be different, more removed.
Let’s seize the day. This moment, now, is all that we are guaranteed. Let’s soak in it. Revel in it. Let’s set down the laundry basket more often and read a book. Let’s turn off the tv and snuggle close on the couch to chat. Let’s set aside the phone and get down on the floor to play a game or build with blocks or construct a fort. 7 years from now we won’t regret that we did. These are what 7-year and 14-year and 40-year-memories are made of.
By no means am I suggesting that we neglect our work. Or feel guilt when we have chores to get done or take a needed break. I am a big advocate of self-care. Only, how many things consume our precious moments, consume us, that if we could look down the corridor of time, for some perspective, we would see aren’t that important? We would happily set them aside. And that if we don’t, one day, we might live to regret that.
And so, gapey grin seared in memory, buzzing around the house while kids were out with dad this evening – I contemplated life. I contemplated how it was time to let certain things go, to make more room for the things that matter most. That reclaiming time and energy from these lesser pursuits, would give me more time and energy for what counts.
It’s so easy to allow the eternally insignificant to dictate. The hurtful comment or behavior or flat-out rejection – move on and dwell on it no longer. No time or energy to burn there. The mindless surfing and scrolling and clicking the time away – no more. There is a more meaningful way for time to be spent. The over scheduling and running to-and-fro busy, busy – time to prioritize, to scale back. Time to leave space in the schedule to just be.
Do you want to join me?
“Mom, I have something to tell you,” says my 7 year as she snuggles beside me just now. You’ll have to excuse me, but I am going to have to be done here. There are 7-year-memories to be made.