My daughter lost two teeth this summer. The first she knocked clean out when she fell from her bike. The second she loosened in the fall so much so that the dentist had to pull it. The week before Christmas she lost two more teeth the natural way. The teeth became lose, they fell out of their own free will. One came out in bed and the other came out while we were at Go Roma having dinner. She said, "MOM! My tooth just came out!" I went over to inspect the chicken nugget covered tooth and she said, "I cannot believe this happened AT A RESTAURANT!" In one week she was visited by the Tooth Fairy twice and Santa. Talk about a stellar week for a four year old. Unfortunately, her smile resembles that of hockey defenceman, Duncan Keith. Holiday photos aren't exactly what I'd hoped.
When, a few days before Christmas, I heard her singing, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, I mean my four front teeth..." I couldn't help but giggle. If Santa and the Tooth Fairy could only pull some strings with Mother Nature that wish could have come true.
I'm reminded, though, that parenting is best approached with the fewest expectations. While I can keep them clean, fed, and having fun and learning whenever possible, I can't control much else. I could not have predicted or planned for my third child's early labor, my first child's arthritis diagnosis, or my second child falling down an entire flight of stairs. I think its only natural to have a mental map of what we hope for our children. We should be wary of creating too big a mental map, though, if we want to have any hope of keeping our own heart in tact. Creating a baby, raising a child, and watching that human grow into an adult is wrought with heartache. If we, as parents, set our sights or expectations too often or too high we're sure to be disappointed. If we keep our own plans in check our children will likely exceed our greatest dreams for them. I'll never be able to make a deal with Mother Nature, but I will be able to raise a strong, brave and self-confident girl by letting go of my expectations of the experience of Parenthood and helping her create and navigate her own path.