Our daughter was seventeen months old the day she tripped tottering up my mother-in-law’s driveway. The day she chipped a triangle out of both front teeth. The day I sobbed as if they’d been my teeth.
The dress she wore holds no memory for anyone. Anyone except me. I remember its blue, cotton bottom and its white polka dots. And I remember the feel of her broken teeth in my fingers. Like slices of almond. Fragile. And soft.
I wept that day. Wept for my little girl’s smile. And I grieved her precious teeth.
I am grieving again.
This morning my boy, my boy who who begged with hopeful eyebrows for just a little more time to play, to hang upside down on the bars by his knees and to twist and untwist himself as he’d done a hundred times, he’s hurting. My boy whom I consented could play for five more minutes and who in the very last moment of the last minute as I called with my hand to come, landed with a bar to his front teeth, collapsing three of them.
He cries angry tears, full of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘I-should-haves.’ And I try to soothe my boy with words that do not soothe me. “At least they’re baby teeth.” “You’ll have a brand new smile.” “Mommy loves you.” You’re going to be okay.”
But neither of us feels okay.
At home I cradle my boy whose ice cubes and tears sog my sweater. His sister silently gathers blankets and pillows and builds him a bed on the couch. She kneels where his head rests and whispers words just for him. His daddy kneels too.
We are silent a moment, loving our boy. Loving his whole being. Loving the person inside.
And for now it is enough.
It is. Enough.