|Eli getting a boost from Vic to look over the bridge at|
Bridge Street shopping center on Saturday.
Hannah Grace had a tooth ache for several days, maybe even weeks. She asked to go to the dentist as she has complained off and on, here and there, now and then, but as a fire it just wasn’t hot enough for me to deal with. Yet, considering that I’m going up in flames with just about everything else for which I’m responsible, on retrospect, what did it matter to take a trip to the dentist along with all the other appointments to which I was going. She had shown it to Vic and on the way home from church on a Wednesday night she began to complain again. He suggested I take her to the dentist, that it did look kind of weird. I thought to myself (or maybe said out loud) Scratch my eyeballs out with a fork! I’m so tired of going to appointments .I said, “Really, are you sure it’s that bad. I mean does it look abscessed or something because I don’t have time to go over there for them to just send us home to wiggle it.” He argued in her defense some more, so I said I wanted to look at. When we got home I had her stand in the light of the kitchen. She said, “It’s not loose at all mama. A grown-up tooth is coming in, but it’s not loose at all.” The tooth was leaned over a bit from where the tiniest tip of a tooth underneath was pushing through the gum.
|Eli getting a baloon animal from the balloon|
man at Bridge Street.
I’ve pulled a couple of her teeth before when they were loose and a molar is a great pulling tooth. It’s big enough to get a grip on it and shaped with a bulge on the sides so that your fingers can get underneath it right at the gum. I took a dry paper towel with a lot of texture to it, and tried to wiggle it. Her head shook back and forth with the wiggle. “See, mama, it’s not loose at all,” she said confidently. “Hmmm,” I said, “so I see that it’s not. Be still and let me look again,” I said as I lovingly slipped my arm around her neck maneuvering her into a gentle headlock. I braced my legs in a square stance and wrapped my fingers around the offending tooth. Then with a steady rip, I tore that tooth out of her head. She bent over at the waist then rose up smiling holding her jaw, “Ouch…… that…. HURT!…..” then she socked me in the arm, “Ma-ma! What did you do that for!?!” As I dampened the paper towel that was in my hand and rolled it up, I said, “Here bite down on this. What? I thought you wanted it out?” Biting down and smiling through clenched teeth she said, “I did, but I wanted a dentist to do it! That hurt. You are mean.” I said, “What? How is that mean? I just did what you wanted. I helped you,” I said with a half grin, completely enjoying the adrenaline rush from the barbaric extraction and relieved by the check mark I had just stamped on her forehead. Vic piped in and said “I think Mama really didn’t want to go to the dentist this week.” That is absolutely true. Then he said he couldn’t decide if I would make a great nurse or a horrible one. But, my philosophy is if it needs to be done and it’s something I can do, I’m doing it and moving on. I don’t have time to coddle, nor do I have time for sissy dentist appointments (sorry, Dr. Tiffany!). Hg turned 12 today and that was her last baby tooth. Time is a tricky thief. It slows down so much that I can’t feel it passing and hardly notice how much it has taken.
|Eli loves pencil coloring cars.|
In the H.G. Wells 1895 novel The Time Machine, the main character, identified only as Time Traveler, argues to his friends that Time is a fourth dimension and that he has built a machine that will travel within that dimension. While sitting still in that machine, he watches the affects of time as it literally passes around him. Hg (my hg, not Wells) has often been fodder for my sarcastic humor. And, if you have “experienced” her, you know why. She speaks with honesty, but without malice about herself and everyone else. She wears her faults as trophies in an attempt to avoid disappointment. She lives within her own world which is rarely affected by outside influences. She mostly doesn’t care or notice what anybody else thinks or does. Even today, she is grounded from being a Girl Scout – which she loves - for her un-girl-scout-like conduct toward her fellow Girl Scout and sister, Abbey. Plus, she is grounded from all forms of digital media this week for multiple infractions in the area of simple responsibility. But, she doesn’t care. It doesn’t bother her. She just gets a book, the biography of Jacques Cousteau right now, and moves on. No promise, effort or desire to change to please me or herself or anyone else. I gave Hg my first and her first spanking when she was age 18 months old. I swatted her leg for something, and she stopped and frowned at me. I frowned back at her. We stood in a stand-off to see who would move first until she eventually slowly walked away never dropping her frowning stare until she rounded the corner. I wrote Vic an email later (no texting then) that either I didn’t do it right or we were in trouble. From then on, if she cried at all when she was spanked, she hid. She has never wanted me to see that anything I do affects her, good or bad. And she doesn’t let what other people think influence her and she doesn’t seek approval. However, she lacks self-confidence and is timid, preferring to stay at home away from people. This is a kind of stubbornness, yes, but a kind of strength as well in that she is comfortable with herself in that world that is hers.
|Eli in triage at Huntsville for a weight check.|
Several weeks after Eli had been diagnosed and we were into our journey, but still new to it, I was running with a friend. Though I had settled some emotionally, this day I was angry. Venting as I usually did to her, I began to get riled up and said something like, “I just get so mad about it sometimes. I don’t understand why us, we are such nobodies and why Eli of any of us. He is just so passive and benign. He’ll never be able to do what he has to do. He gives up trying to push the pedals on a bike with training wheels. How will he ever do what he needs to do to fight this kind of an evil monster.” She gave some agreeable reply to calm me, then I said, “I just don’t understand why him, why not one of the girls?” She looked a little taken aback and said, “Are you saying you wish it was one of the girls?” “Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. If we have been chosen, allowed to be stricken, if we must fight this fight, why couldn’t it have been one of the girls, why not Hannah Grace instead.” That seems harsh, I know, but I did not spew this frivolously or callously. I did not wish a catastrophic disease upon Hannah Grace because I didn’t love her or wished harm upon her - obviously, the contrary. I threw her into the ring because of my confidence in her strength and in her fight. Too, maybe it is because I am a girl and I know how tough a girl is. But Satan is a coward and as most cowards do, he chose the seemingly weakest prey, and it burned my soul for Eli to be picked on. So, entering into battle, any army wants its strongest and toughest doing the fighting. My family suddenly found itself in a fierce battle not of our choosing, in which my children were warriors. I wanted Hannah Grace, the oldest, up front with her strength, her stubbornness, her steadfast will to be unmoved. I knew she could do it, but Eli… The story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17 is not just a familiar story, but an oft used theme in creative writings. Countless books and movies are about a little guy beating a big guy. I doubt there is anybody that doesn’t at least know the basic point of the story of the man-to-boy battle. David, the youngest of four boys, is left home with his elderly father to tend to the business as the older three serve King Saul in the Israelite army. The Israelites face the Philistines in battle as one army stands on a hill, the other on the opposing hill with a valley running between. A fierce champion among the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath, comes down to the valley every day to taunt the Israelites with a man-to-man challenge. Goliath is physically big, intimidating, and downright scary to these Israeli warriors, so they cower at the mere sound of his booming voice each day. David, on a trip to the camp to deliver food, hears Goliath’s call and boldly accepts the challenge that no warrior will take. King Saul questions David’s experience, but David lists his accomplishments fighting a bear and a lion giving credit where it is due, to God his creator and protector. So, David meets Goliath in the valley for the famous showdown which leaves Goliath face down and soon headless. Upon hearing the news of the giant’s defeat, King Saul says of David, “Who is this boy?” That’s how I feel about Eli sometimes, “Who is this boy?” I think about him walking the crest of the hill with the valley of the shadow below where the host taunts us, prowling about the valley like a lion waiting to devour him at the tiniest of stumbles. Though Eli would not have volunteered to fight this fight, he has certainly shown a level of bravery and courage beyond that for which I was giving him credit. The things I’ve seen him face, seen him do, seen him endure are heart-wrenching and nothing that should even be asked of a human of any age. He is a fighter, a warrior, and even a giant himself. In other news: Jayden is having some really good days, thanks to those of you praying for him. He is still with Hospice, but is able to sit up some, and even tried to talk. His turn around so far has been remarkable. Please, continue to pray. And, Baylee that I wrote about got good news. The “enhancement” is not malignant, so her fight against relapse goes on. Pray, pray, pray… and vote and pray, pray, pray.