Last night, with blood smeared on her cheek, Tess finally came downstairs with her top tooth in hand. I have been eagerly awaiting that gap toothed grin, since the last one fell out 10 days ago. Tess is a little self conscious of her spacious smirk, but they are probably my favorite smiles. Three years ago I wrote about the exact same thing (below)…and it is all still true.
My son has been working on it for weeks. Wiggling, pushing his tooth back and forth with his tongue sometimes even until it bled. And I couldn’t have been more ready for it to fall out. His first top tooth fell out about a week ago, and the lone one left was hanging on by a thread. Pointing the complete wrong direction. I sent him to school day after day with this crooked snaggletooth praying it would be gone by the time I picked him up. Until finally, yesterday he pried it out and came running triumphantly to my room before 7 am, tiny tooth in hand. On a Saturday. It is hard to fake excitement before I have had coffee and he has lost enough teeth by now that the tooth fairy is ready to take on a second job just to keep up. And even without my contacts in, I could see the Grand Canyon of gaps across the top of his mouth and I suddenly couldn’t get enough of his gummy grin.
And I know that soon, this big empty space will be filled with 2 giant grown up teeth that he will have forever, (hopefully, assuming, he doesn’t take up hockey any time soon). Little kids with grown up teeth look different. Always a little bit funny until they grow into them.
The last few days I keep asking him to smile for me, and occasionally snapping photos. I am in love with these gaps. His grin is for sure the cutest, but when it comes to my kids there are plenty of places that I leave room. I buy their shoes just a tad too big, and their pants a little too long. I know that eventually they will fill them. At some point I stopped giving myself this luxury. I’ve bought shoes in the exact same size since about the 8th grade and if anything I buy my pants too small, hoping to shrink rather than grow. And my heart isn’t quite as stagnant as my shoe size or as fickle as my waistline, but I’m not quite sure that I have given it much room to grow either.
Those things we all need more of....
Time. Space. Margin. Rest.
Days on my calendar without dots on them. Time spent on my couch rather than to do lists or running around. Money left over at the end of the month rather than the other way around. This season has seemed especially busy. I seem to have more work than ever and less time to do it in. God, who is always a bit wiser than I, left a few gaps. Pried a few things from me because He knew that I would never pull them on my own.
I was not like my son, triumphant over each loss. Instead I grieved them. Whined about them. And quickly tried to fill them with anything or anyone I could find.
But I am starting to see that maybe this space isn’t so bad. That they are in fact gifts. That growth happens in the gaps. In the spaces where we leave room for it. Not in plates that are too full or calendars that are doublebooked or even in pants that are too tight. And although I’d like to keep all my teeth, I will try to welcome gaps and space as they show up. Understanding, that things will have to pulled and tugged loose to make room. Space created from loss for something bigger and better and more permanent to fill.
Now, if I could just get the tooth fairy to leave me a few bucks under my pillow….
And the last time these two had toothless grins -->