Yesterday I was caught off-guard at the dentist’s office. Actually, I knew it was coming because the day before I had had a small taste of it. But whereas the day before I was able to keep it in check, yesterday was a different story. I lost it.
What am I talking about you ask? Simply put, my kids are growing up. There’s no avoiding the fact. Monday and Tuesday, I took Annie and Timothy respectively to their 6-month dental visit. My kids had been asking for a while now when they would start going to a “big-boy” dentist. They have all three been going to this dental practice since we moved to Jacksonville in 1999. The dentist that we’ve seen, twice a year for 16 years, is around my age and he has watched my kids grow up. Over the years we’ve chatted about kids and churches, school and sports. I’ve watched my hair and his turn a bit grey. He asks after Tommy, how he’s doing at UF. (Tommy made the switch about two years ago.)
This week we said goodbye as this would be our last appointments. We are switching over to a “grown up” dentist, who is a great friend and who I know will give us excellent care. But this was a bittersweet moment for this mama who has braved the coming tide of an empty nest with fortitude most days.
But not today. Today, the incoming tsunami hit me broadside and I staggered under the weight of it. I thanked the doctor, his assistant and the office staff for taking such good care of us all these years while struggling (and failing) to keep my composure. No more Disney movies on the overhead TV. No more prizes from the treasure box. No more ubiquitous aquarium in the dentist office. This is another milestone in the end of childhood. The kind doctor warmly shook my hand, shrugged and admitted that kids have to grow up. I want to be in denial.
If you are in the Jacksonville area, and the Southside specifically, I cannot more highly recommend Dr. Cochran as your pediatric dentist. He is kind, sensitive, soft-spoken and caring. You can reach them at (904) 733.7254. Tell them I sent you.