Everything is Different with a Loose Tooth

Written by Emily

Our shoulders were touching in the darkness.

And then her little voice pierced the nighttime silence:

“Everything is different with a loose tooth.”

She stared at the ceiling.

I squeezed her and let the darkness envelop us again. Before long the room was filled with her heavy, sleepy breaths.

I stayed in the dark for a few minutes more reflecting on my girl’s observation: “Everything is different with a loose tooth.”

Her rhythmic inhales and exhales continued, while I remembered rites of passage that changed her, that changed everything.

I remember the first word that burst out of her mouth–forced and determined. “Stuck.” She was trying to turn a screw at the park with her chubby, soft fingers. “Stuck.”

She’d say it again and again with intention. After that, words tumbled out of her mouth, faster than I could collect in a baby book.

In my moment in the dark with her sleeping next to me, I could hear her little voice, one of three little voices I had imagined and dreamed about and anticipated. Hers was just right. They all were. They are.

I remember her walking, then running, the time she let go of my hand in pursuit of adventure. She kept her hands in the air, my pudgy gibbon, steadying herself–more fearless than I would have guessed.

And then she was galloping and skipping and pedaling away, the allure of freedom coursing through her veins, a smile widening across her face.

There were first days of school and last days. Triumphs and setbacks.

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I wonder what I missed. I wonder if there were clues in her beginnings that I didn’t notice, ones that might prepare me for the middle school years I fear or for first dates and rebellion. The rites of passage and all of the in-betweens are her blueprint–the picture, the story of a girl.

Will I know her?  Will I really know her in five years or ten or twenty-five? Will she want me to?

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A sigh escapes from her parted lips, and she rolls over. And then her rhythm again. I could pick out her bedtime breaths anywhere.

I leave the room, careful not to step on the creaky floorboards I’ve memorized–a Pavlovian response now not a necessary one.

“Everything is different with a loose tooth.”

She’s right.

 

***

photos courtesy of @audreyczimmerman

17 comments for “Everything is Different with a Loose Tooth

  1. June 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Your posts are so vivid and true, Emily. I totally know my kid’s breathing…and his creaky floorboards!

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Thank you, Erin! I wrote this too late in the night, and when I do that, all of the sappy stuff bubbles out of me 🙂 It’s this or try to solve the world’s problems and never sleep. Ha!

  2. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?
    June 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Last week T went to church camp, and today I dropped him off at school for cheer/mascot camp. And I realized that this was the last year I could do that, in a few months he’ll be driving himself and I won’t have those last few moment as I drop him off to give hugs and watch him walk away.
    Excuse me while I go bawl now!!

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      I know! Motherhood is heartbreaking sometimes, right?! It’s always near the end of something or after it’s gone that I savor it the most! I can’t even think about driving! I am going to be an absolute mess! Ahhhhh…letting go!

  3. June 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous words. I loved this sentence the most (maybe–it was hard to choose): “The rites of passage and all of the in-betweens are her blueprint–the picture, the story of a girl.” She’s absolutely beautiful and absolutely correct.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Oh, thank you, Foxy! I have to stop writing in the middle of the night because I just can’t reign in the sap. It drips out of me! Thank you for reading and commenting! Truly!

  4. Cathy
    June 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t think it’s sappy at all! We mothers know there are passages; some we mourn, others we celebrate! With each new step confidence and competence flourish, and that is just as it should be.

  5. June 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Oh, lord, woman. Those last few lines stopped my heart. I read this while watching my son on the baby monitor as he tossed around in his crib. I keep telling him to slow down on growing up, but they never listen, do they?

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      No. They don’t ever listen…well, ever about anything, really…but especially about growing up. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

  6. June 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Puddle of tears. So beautiful. And real. And exactly how this motherhood gig feels. Loved it. :)-Ashley

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Oh, thank you, Ashley! It is the way it feels. Thank you so much for connecting with the piece and commenting and sharing. I so appreciate it!

  7. June 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I found myself probing my mouth, trying to see if I had a loose tooth. I so remember that feeling, when the tooth was SO CLOSE to coming out and just wouldn’t.

    Just like everything else in life, I find myself wanting to speed it up and get there already (there being with the gap in my mouth, I guess?). Love this post.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Now that my kids are losing teeth, I remember it, too: the way the new space felt, the thrill of an old tooth in my hand.

      I want to speed things along, too. And then I get nostalgic and long for the past. *Sigh*

      Thank you again!

  8. June 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Hi there! Your gorgeous post was sent to me by my friend Jessica (from Welcome to the Bundle), and I just wanted to say how much your words resonated with me this morning. I have two little girls and these thoughts that you so perfectly captured run through my head in bits and starts all day long. Thank you for taking the time to create this post because it makes what I feel less overwhelming knowing there is someone else out there that is going through the same thing.
    Sincerely,
    Callie

  9. June 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Hi there- Your gorgeous words were sent to me by my friend Jessica (from Welcome to the Bundle) and I want to say how much they resonated with me. I have two little girls and these thoughts that you so perfectly captured run through my head all the time. Thank you for taking the time to write this post because not only is it beautiful, but it makes me feel less overwhelmed about the daunting reality of these little (but huge) changes.
    Sincerely,
    Callie

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      June 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Callie, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on this post. I am so glad it resonated with you. Truly. You brought tears to my eyes.
      I love this: “the daunting reality of these little (but huge) changes.” You nailed it. That’s motherhood isn’t it?

      Thank you again!

  10. July 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    So beautifully said. “Will I really know her in five years or ten or twenty-five? Will she want me to?” I have the same thoughts – among so many others – running through my head as we’re preparing our oldest daughter for her very first day of school next month. I’m finding it so difficult to wrap my heart and my head around the fact that the first chapter of her life is coming to a close and my “little baby” is growing up… They do it so fast.

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