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.