There are days where you really feel like you’re owning life. Those days where you’re just checking things off a list, loving others well, getting up immediately when your alarm goes off, not yelling at your kids, wearing matching socks, arriving only five minutes late to any given appointment, and generally playing a pretty dang good part in the human race.
There are definitely those days.
Then, also, there are days where your teeth fall out.
Not a metaphor. Actual days when your teeth actually fall out. And no, I’m not talking about the school-age/tooth fairy kind of era when it’s normal for your teeth to fall out. Nor am I talking about when you’re advanced in both age and wisdom, and it is socially acceptable for your teeth to fall out. Rather, I’m talking about when you’re cruising around town in your mid-30’s, feeling like you’ve still got it and … BOOM. Out topples your front tooth without warning.
Yes, there are also those days.
I have to admit, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been having a greater quantity of the tooth-falling-out kind of days than the I’m-owning-life kind of days. And, if I’m really honest with myself, I don’t even think I can blame it on the fact that I have young kids, or that I just have bad luck, or bad genes. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can simply chalk it all up to a little something called… life.
The day my tooth fell out (perhaps a title of a future book? A memoir of sorts?), I was running around town for my daughter’s chosen extracurricular activity. It was a Saturday morning, and windy as the sky is blue. We had just left my daughter’s event, and I was rushing over to pick up my son, who was being lovingly looked after by my mother-in-law as my dearest husband was away on a hunting adventure. On the way over, we stopped to get a snack, and as I took the first bite… crunch. Searing pain. My front tooth (of course it had to be my front tooth) gave way and simply came out of my gumline.
I froze. I immediately knew what happened, but didn’t want to believe reality. How could this be? On a busy Saturday of all days when my husband is out of town. Do I dare look in the mirror?
I looked in the mirror. Everything became so much worse once my eyes saw the horror. Oh, the horror.
“What’s wrong, Mommy?” My daughter asked from the back seat.
“Nothing,” I said calmly, attempting to shove my tooth back in as to not give her nightmares for years to come.
My mind raced as to how this could have happened. My memory ran back 17 years prior to a hot, humid sunny day when I was playing centerfield for my high school softball team. I saw myself standing in the outfield, visor on, peering intently into the blinding sun trying to find a fly ball hit in my direction. Long story short, I didn’t catch it. But, I did get hit directly in the mouth.
That direct hit ended up killing my front tooth, and penciled me in for a root canal and a pretty porcelain cap to hide the effects of an error in the outfield. I hadn’t thought about that day in 17 years. But as I looked at myself in the mirror on that tooth-falling-out day, it all came flooding back.
Miraculously, I was able to get my tooth fixed that day by a sweet dentist who gave up his Saturday to do a pretty lengthy procedure. Afterward, we had a birthday party to attend, and the first words out of my daughter’s mouth to everyone in attendance was, “Mommy’s tooth fell out and it looked bad.” In fact, for the next few days, that was the announcement she would tell anyone who would listen.
Things happen. Life happens. Teeth fall out. That’s why dentists (thank the sweet, almighty Lord) have emergency call-in numbers on the weekends. The only difference is — and perhaps why tooth-falling-out days feel slightly more traumatic than those of my earlier days — I get to have every kind of day in front of a live studio audience. That is, my little ones are sitting in my backseat watching me with their probing eyes and minds. Taking in all my reactions, judging me, emulating me, and providing intell to perfect strangers about my life.
I took a picture of myself in the dentist office with the vast gap when my tooth was missing. I cringe and laugh when I think about the image. I showed my daughter and she cried. But now she tells her little brother about the day Mommy’s tooth fell out, and they all laugh hysterically.
At least tooth-falling-out days are funny… eventually.