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Losing the First

Already he is crying. Deep, injured sobs. Where his cheeks bunch, the tears leap like thrill seekers from a cliff. Into my lap. Into the carpet.

He’d trusted me. I could see it in his bewildered eyes.

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And. I’d come through.

I’d pinched his baby tooth a final time between my thumb and pointer finger, the tooth that has rocked and swayed within his mouth for days, the one that has dangled and teased like a piece of yarn in front of the cat’s face. The one we have all wigged with our own fingers.

And I pulled.

Pulled the tiny spear that resented leaving, the one that clung to its old home before tearing away.

The pain is brief. But he’s aghast. He does not know the tooth is in my hand. Only that there’s blood upon the toilet paper. His blood.

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There is another set of sobs. An unbridled burst coming from the chair, from his sister-witness who covers her eyes with the length of her arms and grieves, “I’m going to miss his baby teeth.”

We are stung. Husband and me. Stung by the rawness of the moment. By him. By her. By the white fragment in my palm, the first one, the first of many.

And so we give space. Space for God to make his five-strand among us. To take the loss of a tiny tooth and turn it into something holy.

Holy.

Because He can.

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