I am in mourning. It’s a soft mourning, but I am feeling the loss and fear nonetheless.
Sam is losing his 2 front top teeth. They are all caddywompus and dangling. Any day now – any HOUR – they’ll fall out and make way for the big, adult teeth that will grace his smile for the rest of his life.
Yes, I know this just a part of normal development, and I’m really not often one to feel super emotional about my children growing, changing, and reaching new milestones. Typically we celebrate them. But this one… this one is hard for me.
Developmentally, Sam is very much still a toddler – around 2 or 3, and in some areas even younger. In so many ways, just a baby-guy walking around in an almost 7 year old’s body. Frankly, many of his behaviors – his impulsivity, his emotive frustration with his limited ability to communicate, his lack of safety awareness, his need to still wear diapers part time, his attachment to chewing on a pacifier, etc, etc – are so much easier to accept because he is still so young. His face still such a baby face. (He’s soooo CUTE!)
The loss of these teeth. It is sort of the first of many physical changes to come, as we move into big kid-dom, tween-dom, & teen-dom. And this cold hard fact scares me. We live so very much in the present, and I have not allowed myself to spend much energy thinking about what it will be like to have an older child with the differences that Sam has. We have always just celebrated his accomplishments as they have come, focused on nurturing his potential in the moment, and not worried too much about what he may or may not be capable of in the future. The truth is that, many of his behaviors & limitations are just plain hard to accept from a big kid. Much more difficult to stomach the judgmental glares from people out in public that don’t stop to consider the possibility that there just may be a REASON why my kid squeals loudly and claps his hands and doesn’t answer when they ask how old he is. Much more difficult to not consider the nuances and logistics of what living with a teenager with special needs, and very likely an adult dependent, will look like for us.
And yet, it is what it is. These teeth will fall out, we will raise our hands in a collective family “YAY!” celebration, the Tooth Fairy will pay a visit to our family bed, those big gawkward teeth will grow in, and Sam will still be our sweet, beautiful boy. My Momma’s heart will weep for just a minute at the loss and what it means, and then I will move on and embrace the change as we march on forward.