Today Mason, Caroline and I drove 1 1/2 hours to Mobile where Caroline had an appointment with the Periodontist.
Caroline was born with attached frenulums (frenuli?) both upper and lower. The lower one was taken care of early in life, but that upper one just didn't show itself until much later. So today was the day it was to be addressed.
Caroline and I sat while the Periodontist looked her over. He explained the procedure very thoroughly, step-by-step, while Caroline and I nodded our heads in understanding. He then asked us to move to a different room while he had his nurse prepare the procedure room. Caroline, very lady-like and grown up, proceeded to the room ahead of me. Once we got in there, she whipped around to face me and said,
"Yeah...I'm not doing that."
I explained to her what a total "non-issue" the whole thing would be. You know, it'll only take a second; it'll feel just like a mosquito bite; I had something similar when I was your age. Nothing worked. She was determined that no way was Dr. Whatshisname getting into her mouth. When I tried to drag her back to the procedure room, she just went limp. I called Michael: no help. I begged: didn't work. She was crying and I was just about crying as well. I explained over and over and over (and over) again that this would not hurt, but to someone who has never had a cavity or anything, getting a shot in the gum just doesn't sound like a party. I get that.
Finally, the nurse very politely pulled me aside and said, "We can't do this if she's not going to be still and cooperate." I asked her to give me 5 more minutes with her and then come into the waiting room to get her, as I was not allowed back during the procedure.
I said a quick prayer for wisdom as I sat her down. Again, I reiterated all the "it won't hurt" jive I had already lost my voice on. Then the light bulb came on.
"Caroline!" I sputtered, "Penny! I'll get you Penny!" (American Girl Felicity's horse)
"OK...I'll do it," she replied.
And that was that. She didn't utter another word of protest, but took the nurse's hand and returned to me 10 minutes later frenulum-free.
Did I do the right thing? Did I cave? Is it wrong to bribe your own child? These are all hypotheticals...please don't answer. The answers may very well be no, yes and yes...but I just wanted to help her through something scary. It reminded me of the time my brother got stitches after putting his arm through our front door window (which I happened to lock...but I digress). While he was crying and moaning my dad told him that if he was brave he'd buy him a Buffalo Bills football helmet with mouth guard. That shut him up and he took it like a man.
It also reminds me a little bit of how the Father, subjects us sometimes to things that are painful - for our own good - but always does so with love and the blessing of his presence.
I hope Caroline remembers this day. I hope she looks back at this thing that occured between us and thinks "My mom tells me the truth. She said the frenectomy wouldn't hurt, and it didn't. I know I can trust her in this other scary thing I'm facing." Wow...I hope I can always keep her trust.