The dental hygienist is bent over me. She’s chatting as she works and I’m listening intensely. What else can I do? My mouth is wide open and there are sharp instruments inside. I’m here for my six month cleaning and there’s a lot of catching up to do – what’s going on with her kids; what is happening with mine, etc.
I love my dental hygienist. I actually look forward to seeing her twice a year and swapping stories. The great thing is, she always remembers me. That is so rare in my experience with healthcare providers lately that I embrace the opportunity to be with one who remembers my name and shows an interest in what is going on in my life.
Today the conversation turns to Thanksgiving. She shares her family’s plans with me and, when I have a moment to close my mouth, I share about the little celebration we will be having at my parents’ home.
“My son is coming home from college,” she tells me, “That boy can really eat! He piles it on his plate and I’m always sure that he won’t finish it – but he always does. Then he heads back for seconds.”
It’s her next comment that is the heartbreaker for me.
“There is something so wonderful about being able to feed your child.” She gets lost in reverie.
I know what she means. I know it more acutely this year than ever. As a mom, there is something so deeply satisfying about being able to cook for your child and see them enjoy it. And there is something heart wrenching about not being able to feed them – about having them reject what you prepare.
This year, I will prepare food for our entire family. My mother and I will do it together. I will watch and wonder whether Blake will eat what we prepare that day, but, honestly, I am preparing myself that he will not. I have to think that way, because it is too difficult to hope that he will eat and then watch him stand by as others enjoy. Instead of focusing on whether he eats or not, I will try to focus on how very lucky I am to be able to cook with my mother and how blessed I am to have my family around me. And, hey, if Blake doesn’t eat, I guess that means more leftovers for me…..