Sara Whitman

Pulling teeth

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 07, 2007 6:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: child care, ENDA

As I painfully watched my community implode over an ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) debate yesterday, a debate over a hollow, pointless victory that only proves we are willing to sacrifice a limb, or two, in order to have some crawling shadow of incremental change. The irony is no change will take place, the bill will be vetoed, no one will be protected, and we will stand there minus a limb, hemorrhaging our pride while a few special Washington insiders get to say, oh well.

And I pulled a tooth. No, I'm not a dentist, just a mom. Zachary had a loose tooth for about three days. The other night, he came up to me, pointed to the offender, and asked to have it pulled.

I am the tooth puller. The first loose tooth that needed to be pulled was several years ago in Maine. My friend Suzy and her kids were there. Suzy has four kids, several horses, and no patience for wincing about pain. Doesn’t matter if she’s cleaning a horse’s hoof or changing a bandaged arm, she does it with speed and efficiency. Again it was Zachary who had a loose front tooth that was literally dangling on a single string. It was his first tooth to come out and he was afraid.

Ben had pretty much dealt with all of his own teeth coming out, so I wasn’t sure what to do. Suzy said, come here, took a napkin to grip it and yanked the tooth out before Zachary could say a word.

She gave me the look. I knew it meant, BABY, but she’d never say that in front of my kids. Her kids, sure. Not mine, though.

Tooth was not ready the other night but it was ready yesterday afternoon just before the saxophone lesson. Grab, pull, get a tissue, we’re going to be late…

Suzy would be proud.

Later, Zachary wondered, to me, if the tooth fairy could possibly leave money but not take the tooth...

You believe in the tooth fairy? I asked.

Not really... He was being coy. He didn't want to lose out on the money.

It's okay. Just don't tell Jake. And you still have to put it under your pillow.

Okay, He shrugged. How much will I get?

Don't push it...

I paused and then asked, What about Santa?

So totally your handwriting mom… no one can read it.

I smile. It’s the same thing that gave my mother away. She had the most unusual handwriting. Smart boy.

Another day and lesson in life. Sometimes, everything sucks, it’s gray outside and raining. Sometimes, your heart keeps breaking in the same pattern it’s broken over and over again. It’s low tide, and all the rocks are exposed, slippery, and miserable to navigate.

A non-inclusive ENDA will pass. I can only hope lessons have been learned. I am desperate to find a way to talk about healing and coming back together again. We are too few to be divided. It is a different kind of pulling teeth- we must all come back to the table again. There is too much to lose.

And when my kids come home, the present rushes back like the tide. The only thing that matters is getting the tooth out and to the lesson on time.


Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Good apology Sarah. i guess you have never had to deal with boils before. The ENDA to me is like a boil one that is anaerobic the smell pushes on the gag reflex when you open it for the first time.

Like most boils this one is going to have to be lanced more then once and it has already been lanced twice before. Both times it left a scar that remains today. A scar that tells transfolk to tell the gay leadership they all can go to hell and burn.

Like lancing that boil some of us knew this would not be the last time and many would forget and make the same mistakes again and again each time that boil would fester.

The good news is some of us have allies in the religious right that will ensure ENDA won't pass this time.

Can you taste the bitterness, it's not for me but my friends who need an inclusive ENDA.


Take Care
Susan Robins

I can only hope lessons have been learned. I am desperate to find a way to talk about healing and coming back together again. We are too few to be divided. It is a different kind of pulling teeth- we must all come back to the table again. There is too much to lose.

Amen, Sara. Amen.

I hope we're able to find a way soon. If this is left to fester and rot it could be the worst damage given to our community - and it's a wound we've given ourselves.

Actually bill we haven't inflicted the wound.
the would was inflicted by the politicians who say they are our supporters.

Take care
Susan Robins

Untrue. Frank and the straight acting jim Fouratt community inflicted the wound. And they are us.

The gays and lesbians cheering this meaningless backstab are us.

We did this to ourselves. HOW many of us blindly supported HRC? How many of us have used the words "half a loaf" in anything but an ironic comment.

We have met the enemy, and she is us.

The question is, will we learn THIS TIME?