Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Say 'Ah'

She was lying on the sofa when I arrived at her house. A wad of gauze peeked out of her sore mouth. Four teeth that had gone to bed with her last night were gone by mid-morning. It was bad enough going through the discomfort of new braces. This was the final blow.

When my granddaughter was a small child, she had developed this horrendous fear of doctors and dentists. Many the appointment had we struggled through trying to see her through vaccinations and throats swab. She was terrified. So this experience of major work on her teeth was the ultimate challenge she faced and conquered.

I remember when my son had closed tear ducts. He was just a toddler. We had taken him to the clinic where the doctor announced that the ducts had to be opened. In order to work on the small boy, he was put into a straight jacket. A straight jacket for a small child!!!! I was the one horrified but had no choice. I wanted to take him and run the other direction.

Later my daughter would run down the hall and into her room somehow running into her closet door slicing open her head. Bled like a fountain. We rushed to hospital where stitches were the verdict. I was not about to leave my small child as they placed her on a gurney strapping down her arms. The restraints alone made my stomach lurch.

Ouch. It is so difficult when our loved ones are faced with necessary procedures….often necessary pain. As with any parent/grandparent, I would gladly fall under the knife or needle for my family. Yet, we cannot. We can be there for support, we can encourage and express pride, we can be strong for them, but we cannot, absolutely cannot, save them from pain.

Perhaps for me, this is the hardest part of love. I would throw myself in front of a bus or a raging beast to save my own but cannot save them from pain, loss and disappointment. You might say, “But you can be there for the child.” Somehow that doesn’t make it easier. Life is not easy nor is the process of learning life’s lessons.

My granddaughter will survive this and have a beautiful smile the rest of her life. (Well, in two years after the braces are gone.) She will be stronger for the experience and proud that she has survived it. She will not know that her grandmother did not sleep well last night and hurt for her today. She will not know until she has her own the depth of love I have for her. Today I celebrate my brave granddaughter. I hope I grow up to be as brave some day.

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