The day I got a certificate at the dentist…

The following is a true story. You can see from the picture above that I received this certificate on April 30, 2018. That was not yesterday. I kept this certificate because I need the reminder and the visual that I am not failing as a a parent.

Where shall I begin in describing exactly what happened on this particular visit? For a child prone to hyperactivity and sensory issues, going to the dentist is a disastrous tale of woe that writes itself.

How about having to lay still while strangers get close to you and ask you questions with their fingers in your mouth? How about the buzzing and whirring and squirting instruments right beside your head and inside your mouth? How about the x-ray machines that get close to your head and even rotate around your head while vibrating and beeping?

There were tears. There were threats. There were visits to the bathroom. There were demonstrations by mom, sister, and office staff. There were rewards promised and taken away. There were collapses on the floor. All shame went out the window. All social awareness went out the window.

There were no x-rays taken this day.

Is there anything more humbling than parenting? Little creatures you love and nurture completely turn on you in the worst possible moments.

Maybe this happened to you? Maybe this is currently happening to you? Take comfort knowing you are not alone. Children have challenged their parents from the very beginning. Sometimes the challenge is intentional to assert their own authority and sometimes the challenge is beyond their control due to developmental and neurological issues exacerbated when life becomes especially frustrating. Sometimes it is a combination.

The struggles do not begin and end at the dentist. The struggles are every day and come at all points during the day. They change with each new stage of life.

Is there anyone in your corner encouraging you? If not, plug me in. I am the sympathetic staff member at the dentist watching you from across the room and smiling to give you strength.

If I knew your address, I would mail you a certificate.

You will be okay. You will get through this. You are not alone. This season of life will not last forever. It will be replaced by another with new challenges. That may be unwelcome news, but it is the truth. We have to tell ourselves the truth. What matters is our outlook, our perspective, and our heart.

The work of parenting is not deemed successful by how current our children are on their dental x-rays.

Does your child know you are not just their rock, but their soft place to fall? Does your child know this world is not all there is? These thoughts and questions help me stay grounded on the tough days.

Let’s consider some words of encouragement from our Heavenly Father:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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