Today I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time.
I mean a really, really long time…
Like over three years.
I had all sorts of excuses – some rather valid – after all it’s been a wild three years. My biggest hangup is that I hate finding new dentists and it takes me forever – toss in some of the life changing events we had going on and well…. yeah. No dentist.
Anyway, I had to find a new dentist for the kids and so I went with a highly recommended general dentist who was very close to our home, which also meant no more excuses for me.
Anyway, this post isn’t really about the dentist, it’s about the dreaded question.
It’s a typical everyday question and was never dreaded before. But now every time I’m asked,
“How many kids do you have?”
It gives me pause.
There’s just no good way to answer that question. Take today for example.
It was my first trip to the dentist and they know I’ll be bringing my family. So, they ask how many kids. Since I only have 5 who are coming I simply say five and push away the twinge that always hits my heart when I say that number.
Sometimes it’s simple and it ends there, but not today, because I didn’t think about the questions that would naturally come by the dental hygenist.
It went something like this.
“Wow, five kids, that’s a lot, I only have..” and we have some pleasant discussion and she asks the ages, which I rattle off without a problem. Then comes, “How many of each?”
Now I have to pause. Saying three of each comes out so naturally, but I said I only had five kids. Now what do I do? I manage to get out two girls and three boys feeling totally awkward. Of course, she can’t tell and jokes about my pause about needing to think about it, and I joke back inwardly cringing because I feel like I’m lying.
Then she has to take x-rays and has to ask if I’m pregnant or trying to become pregnant. My response was somewhere along the lines of, “Heck no!” lol.
Then she, of course says. “Not going for that sixth one?” In a very friendly joking way. Which would be fine except that… well…
It’s too late to explain at this particular moment, all I would do is succeed in making her feel awful and insensitive, and there’s no way she would have known because I didn’t say anything. And now I feel like I completely deceived this woman and there’s this awkwardness that only I can feel. And I know when I bring the kids in, one of them is going to mention Lizy and I’ll have to explain and then I am sure she’ll feel awful and then I’ll feel awful and I should have just said 6 in the first place.
And then I drive home feeling like Peter who denied the Christ three times because I basically just denied the existence of my oldest child.
The one thing that this has taught me is that, I really, really hate saying I have only five children. I have six children. Lizy was with us almost thirteen years. It just feels weird to me to say five. I feel like I am trying to pretend she wasn’t part of our family. Or that my heart doesn’t ache. Or that I don’t miss her terribly.
So, from now on the answer is always and forever six. The awkward of saying one is an angel is far better than the awkward of today’s experience. Though that awkward was only felt by me. But it’s not worth the guilt and emotional distress to me.
And that, dear friends, was my very weird and awkward morning and first trip to the dentist in years. Sigh. Perhaps it will all straighten itself out in the future, but I kind of dread going back and taking the kids, lol. Which is silly, honestly. In the meantime there is some chocolate sitting on the desk with my name on it.
Yay for chocolate, it is essential to grief survival.