Chipped Teeth

Our daughter was diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in August after a very scary summer, and may be entering another flareup [hence the recent radio silence]. For this anxiety-prone mama, wondering "what if this is actually not CVS and instead symptomatic of something worse?" has been the constant drumbeat in my head for half a year now. So for the other anxious moms, this is my ode to you. Keep momming as hard as you can. You're doing fine.

Theory chipped a tooth on Friday. Spectacularly. 1/3 of her right front tooth, gone. It’s just a stupid baby tooth, but I can’t stop crying.

I keep telling myself the tooth doesn’t matter. It gives her character. It’s just a chipped tooth; that’s what kids do. But she comes home from the dentist and I’m expecting it to be fixed and my husband tells me she wouldn’t let them and I can’t stop crying.

That stupid baby tooth seems like an outward signal of something insidious inside of her, some defect, some illness only I can see. I live in fear of it. I’m afraid of her. Terrified with every interaction that it may bubble to the surface and it will be too late to catch it early. And the tooth reminds me and I get scared all over again that there’s something wrong with my girl and I can’t stop crying.

Everything hurts. I’m sad and it scares her. I ask her if she’s feeling okay and that scares her too but I can’t stop. Every second I have to know, have to assess, discern if there’s a new symptom that may give us some clue as to what wakes her in the night to get sick, what makes her so tired, what makes her face so pale and the circles under her eyes so dark, what makes the painful hiccups happen so often and her throat hurt so badly.

So I’m crying, and now she’s crying, both of us wailing and neither really knowing why, but we can’t stop. And that damn chipped tooth, peeking out of her sad, sobbing mouth, is all I can see.

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