LAURA SNYDER: Moms, Dads Can Also Be Heroes
I became a hero today -- again.
When you are a parent, there are many opportunities for heroism. Regrettably, our feats of derring-do are mostly unsung and completely forgotten hours after the deed has been done.
My daughter had been worrying a loose tooth for weeks. She is a staunch opponent of any kind of pain, so even though I could see the adult tooth pushing up through the gum, the baby tooth was still hanging on because she didn't have the nerve to remove it.
Of course, it didn't help that my husband gave her a multitude of suggestions that were guaranteed to have her cowering in fear at the mere thought. These suggestions included slamming doors, a fire escape and a brick, even tying the tooth to a string and attaching it to a feather. The last one didn't sound too bad until he explained that the feather was attached to an arrow and the arrow was to be shot from a compound bow.
I guess the possibility of the tooth staying connected to her gum during the launch gave her the image of being momentarily airborne just before her tooth, and consequently, her face and then her body, crashed into a tree at 120 miles an hour.
Despite my husband's assurances that this would not happen, my daughter was understandably reluctant to try any of his tooth-removing methods.
She was trying to eat corn on the cob today and that loose tooth was giving her fits. I'd rather hoped that simply eating the corn would pry the tooth loose. That wasn't the case, however, as she ate the corn with the other side of her mouth, coating her cheek with corn guts and juice, before she gave up in exasperation.
As my husband spouted torture devices like a hammer, a chisel, and a pair of needle-nosed pliers, I took pity on my daughter.
I pulled her into a room out of hearing range, looked into her eyes and asked as gently as I could, "Do you want this tooth out?"
"Yes, but it won't come out!"
"Do you want me to take it out?"
"What are you going to use?" she asked fearfully, no doubt thinking of the nefarious contents of a toolbox that my husband wanted to use on her hapless tooth.
"Just my fingers," I said.
"I'm not ready," she said sadly.
"Well, your tooth seems to be ready," I encouraged.
"Promise it won't hurt?"
"If it hurts, I will stop."
She opened her mouth. I reached in, grabbed the tooth tightly. A slight yank, and it was out. I will never forget the look on her face as she took the tooth out of my hand, happiness shining in her face.
"Oh, thank you, Mom!"
This, of course, made me feel like a million bucks.
Then she skipped off to show her brothers how brave she was.
Well, I earned another stripe today, I thought.
Parents are heroes to their children every day. The deeds we do are not always noteworthy. It could be as simple as finding clean underwear in the dryer so a kid doesn't have to go to school "commando."
It could be buying their favorite snack. It could be driving them to school so they don't have to deal with a bully on the bus.
What about the time you produced a sharp pencil so they could finish their homework? Or saved a plastic milk jug and some toilet paper rolls for a project they were doing?
We are the buffer between these little guys and the rest of the world. As they get bounced around life like a steel ball in a pinball machine, we will always be there to smooth out the rough spots.
They do appreciate it, too -- if only for a moment.
Contact Whispering Pines writer Laura Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and information on her books.
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