I rarely look in the mirror anymore.
Oh… I’m good with how I look:
My strong, slightly hooked Roman nose… thank you Hawthornes.
Long face and chin? Thanks Tanners.
Close set eyes? All the better to see you with, my dear.
My skin bothers me because I break out with stress and hormones… but you know… other people notice that a lot less than I think.
Now, my smile? I really like that.
It’s not perfect and it is DEFINITELY a product of years of orthodontia (thank you parents), but I have a big grin perfected by large helpings of irony and laughter at my own jokes.
So I’m not checking the mirror often these days mostly on the basis of I’m *running* from point A to point B most of the time in the bathroom. The occasional shower I get is usually in the dark after the rest of the family is asleep.
So it was with rare occurrence that I peered in the makeup mirror the other night.
Blotchy skin? Check.
Blue eyes half open (coffee wore off)– Check.
Wrinkles around my eyes? Still there.
I flashed my signature grin and opened my mouth.
I opened my mouth wider and looked closer.
Am I seeing things right? I closed my mouth and grinned again.
The outside of my teeth looked pretty good, but deep in the grooves on top and bottom, they were stained. Bad. Kind of dirty looking.
It was like I was looking into a haunted mansion and the white, glowing riders of death were standing guard at the entrance.
One of them held up a cup of coffee. I blinked and shook my head. “Maybe I should curtail my daily cup o’ joe,” I thought to myself.
Then I laughed at the ridiculousness of the suggestion.
I know what you’re thinking. “Are you not brushing your teeth?” Nope. Faithfully. And flossing. Every single night. I’m a little anal retentive about it.
What I HAD done is lapsed on regular trips to the dentist. Before I had TJ I never missed a 6 month cycle. Then something happened in the last four years. I feel like I’ve been down the black hole of child care. Just hit one right after the other with crazy. It’s pretty easy to find sitters for two kids, but FOUR ages 8 on down? Not so much.
But we all know that what it comes down to is I didn’t make it a priority. I didn’t make taking proper care of my teeth a priority.
I see a lot of headlines these days about “MAKE TIME FOR SELF CARE” and “TAKE TIME JUST FOR YOU.”
Of course. This is true. And this is important. But I also recognize that in this life, there are marathons and there are sprints. And early childhood is a sprint. Raising a child is a marathon. In a sprint, you don’t exactly have the luxury of taking tons of time to yourself. You’ll blink and those streaking toddlers will end up four houses down knocking on your neighbors’ door and end up on their couch watching Wheel of Fortune.
Four-hour hair appointments aren’t on my “self-care” list right now.
But trips to the dentist? C’mon Lin. Get it together.
Adulting is funny. For as much as we’re responsible for others, we wish our mommy would still hold our feet to the fire for some things.
Truth be told, I felt a little foolish as I’m big on teaching my kids to be responsible for their own things and here sit with my haunted, stained teeth. I need all of those little pearls rattling around in my head until I become a graveyard flower mound.
I closed my mouth and rubbed my eyes and backed away from the glow of the mirror.
Time to look up a good dentist.
Possible search terms: “Dentists for vampire moms”
“Dentists for moms who lapsed please don’t yell at me”
“Dentists who won’t tell me to stop drinking coffee.”
And my number one criteria: “Dentists who provide child care.”
As I fell asleep that night, still in search of the perfect dentist, I thought, “Maybe I should look in the mirror a little more.” I’d rather look at the lovely bouquets adorning a beloved’s memory first BEFORE I’m seeing the roots of those flowers.
I woke up this morning and my name wasn’t in the obituaries so I’ll scratch it off as a pretty good day.
And tomorrow, I’ll wake up and call the dentist.
An American humorist, writer and author. When boiling down the chicken soup of life, she finds those golden, fried nuggets of truth & writes them long after the kids go to bed.
June 16, 2021 @ 6:38 pm
Love this! I have been guilty of this same thing. More so when the kids were little like yours. Hang in there, mama. It gets easier. And harder. Easier in that when they go off to school you will have more time for things like dental appointments. Harder because they will go off to school and that my friend (speaking from a bit of experience…) is a whole new ball of wax! But look on the bright side- not only will your smile benefit, but you will have endless writing material! Good stuff! Thanks for sharing. xo
June 16, 2021 @ 7:05 pm
Ah, Christine– THANK YOU SO MUCH for the encouragement. You are real and raw and I just dig that about you. And if you survived all those kids, then I can too.