Question: You seem so calm and positive all the time. Don’t you ever lose your cool?
Answer: If you and I were sitting in our living room chatting together, and I told you the following story, you would see my face flush and tears come to my eyes. The emotion is still fresh, and it is anger. Cheek-burning, blood pressure-elevating, heart-pounding, hyperventilating, suffocating, hold-back-the-tears anger.
A quick decision needed to be made.
The dentist said he wanted to clean up her teeth a bit so he could examine them better. We were already in the right place, over an hour from home, and Katie had done remarkably well for her unsedated DEXA scan.
Sedating any child carries its own risk.
I decided to let him go ahead and try.
I sat on the dentist’s chair with Katie on my lap. They reclined the seat until she and I were lying nearly flat on our backs, her head up on my right shoulder.
I looked up at the bright lights and murmured into her ear. “I know it is sooo scary, Katie. Mama is here. You’ll be okay…I know…I know…”
What if you went to visit a family you hadn’t seen for years, and when you got to their house, you found out that the parents had been keeping their children in their beds, away from the public eye, for years.
What if you found out that they valued their children so little that they had never so much as brushed their teeth, so that their children’s mouths were evil-smelling pits containing dark gray bacteria, coated thickly with discolored yellowish rock? Swollen, bleeding gums? Sores on their tongues?
The reeking, horrific condition of their mouths made them so unpleasant as to become socially unacceptable. Stripped of basic human dignity.
Pronouncing their children unlovable, then causing them to become unlovely by failing to love them.
Is that okay?
Would you feel angry?
How long did our little girl…
…our precious helpless little girl!…
…have to carry that foulness inside her mouth?
Why is it not okay for parents to treat their children that way, but it is “understandable” for orphanage workers not to find the time in nearly ten years to brush a child’s teeth??
I confess I have not felt so angry in a long time as I did when it all came off easily, using basic dental tools.
In fifteen minutes.