Self Reflection

Gratitude from going to the Dentist

I hate the dentist; plain & simple.
It makes me get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it and when it comes to the day of my appointment I’m pretty anxious; though truth be told I get anxious about just about everything.

This past June however, I had gotten a weird infection in my gum.
My husbands’ family have been going to this great dentist that was more like a private  practice and he is super nice. It was definitely refreshing to say the least when you are someone like me who does not like going to the dentist.
He told me that the infection was due to my impacted wisdom tooth pressing against my other teeth.
After about a week of being on antibiotics, it was cleared up. Phew.
After leaving that check up with him however, I had made an appointment for a cleaning.

Because life happens, and I hate the dentist (even if he is nice) I rescheduled the appointment a few times.
Honestly, I wanted to reschedule my appointment this past Thursday but since I knew it had been nearly 5 years from my last cleaning, and the added uncertainty of sickness and weather related travel issues, I thought “its time I just suck it up and get it over with.”

I didn’t go to the dentist thinking it would be somehow emotionally healing for me.
But life has a way of surprising you.

The Hygienist was super sweet and understanding; she was a mom of three boys (only older) just like me.
She asked me the same question I get asked a lot by people when I tell them, “So are you going to try for a girl?”
I laughed. “No, my husband is fixed. Unless we magically get pregnant now, then we are all set.” “Do you wish you had a girl?” I asked back to her.
“No, I like being queen of my castle” she replied and I could tell honestly. “though I do wish for granddaughters.” I shook my head in agreement.
“Queen of my castle.” I thought, “that’s a good way to look at it.” I replied out loud.
“No drama, no competition.” she said.

*

As I stood at the desk to pay for my appointment and schedule a cleaning in the future and headed out to my car back to my mother in laws, I had this weird moment where everything seemed like it was going in slow motion.

Here I am, 26 years old, married and handing someone a personal check to my husbands and I’s joint account for nearly $100 dollars for a cleaning.
My kids are happy and safe with my mother in law.
My husband is lovingly asking how it went while he is working on the job site to take care of me and our kiddos.
My phone is not blowing up with messages because I am someone’s burden for one reason or another.
I am taken care of.
My husband does so because he wants to take care of me.
Because he wants me to be healthy.
Because he loves me.

When I finally, made it back to my mother in laws house; my kids were dancing and singing with her; Smiling and bouncing because they were having fun and happy to see me.
Then they all came down stairs.
B finished the remainder of his sandwich and smoothie and my mother in law handed me a huge glass of smoothie; followed by chips and hummus; followed by chocolate covered rice cakes with peanut butter. (Its because she does stuff like this that I instantly get hungry when I go to her house. hehe)
F laid on my lap and nursed as I ate.
We talked about my appointment and what the dentist said.
She was her normal supportive; encouraging; and loving self.

On my way home with F, as B stayed for his nap and more play time (so I could have a break), I realized there was part of me still surprised.
I still expected something different, even though I have been apart of my husbands family for 4 years now.
There was still a knot in my stomach when I told her what the dentist had said; because I was waiting for a blow of some kind.
Some kind of guilt; or way of making me feel of ashamed of myself; making me feel less than human; less than deserving of being healthy.
Something my mother in law has never done to me.

And my mother has and would have.
She would have made some big deal about watching the kids for me to go to an appointment.
When I asked.
Before I got there.
And especially, when I was back to pick them up.
Told me how much of an inconvenience they were to watch and how tired she because of it.
Told me how bad of a mother I am to them because of their behavior.
Told me how great she is of a grandmother; how much better she is at parenting than me.
To the point where I would vow to myself silently that she wouldn’t watch them again, even if she offered. (And I would stay true to that until she would later guilt me about how She is entitled to spend time with her grandchildren. Then the cycle would continue.)
She would have acted like I owed her much more than a thank you; that I should pay her for her services.

And when I would have told her what the dentist said, she would have embarrassed me somehow then and again later when siblings were around.
Guilt me for the next three days, minimum.
Told me how disgusting I was for not taking care of myself.
And how I should’ve never let my teeth get to where they are.
How she was so much better than me.
How I needed to do and be exactly like her.

*

Once I was inside my house and nursing F back to sleep from our car ride, I was taken back by my emotions.
I almost called my mother in law, to talk to her but I didn’t want to wake up B or F from calling; and I felt like this was the kind of thing that should be said in person.
I was going to make sure I told her and my husband my feelings when I saw them.
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that my mother was not in my life.
That I was married to a man who treated me like a gem.
I was surprised that the shadows of my mind were still recreating the scenario of what I expected even though my mother hasn’t been apart of my life for the last 2 and 1/2 years; even though my mother in law is nothing like my mother.
Surprised that something as little as going to a dentist appointment would bring me so much appreciation for my life the way it is now.
Surprised again at how good it felt to be taken care of.
And loved.
Surprised by the healing power love has in undoing the past, yet again.

I sobbed to my mother in law when I saw her; thanking her for not making me feel that way.
Thanking her for loving my children and enjoying them.
For supporting me in getting my oral health back on track.
For being there; for being the mom I never had but always wanted.
She hugged me.

I sobbed to my husband when he came home.
Thanked him for working so hard for me.
Thanked him for taking care of me.
For wanting me healthy.
For caring about me.
And for loving me.
He held me close, in the way only he can; in his arms where I belong.
He stroked my hair and face.
“You’re my precious girl.” he said. “You deserve to be cared about.”

And its true.
I am loved.
I am cared for.
Thank goodness that’s not my life anymore.

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