Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dentist Trips and How to Love Parenting

The chimes blow hard, and yellow leaves carpet my lawn, the gaps in the naked trees revealing more of my neighbors’ yards than I have seen yet. This uncharted territory of autumn in a new house makes everything fresh this year. 

At the dentist office this morning, four Dougans crowd into the elevator, pass under construction scaffolding, and duck into unpainted hallway entrances to the dentist. Four year old Daniel skips happily to the waiting room toys, his sky blue Buzz Light Year hoodie crumpled out backwards. Svelte eighth grade Morgan stands tall beside me, bobbed hair gracing her cheeks, sliding to cover dark eyes as she slips into a chair beside me. Towering twelfth grade John slumps sullenly into a plastic molded chair nearby, his fear of dentists looking like teen age angst, oddly unlike his usual cheerful optimism. 

As our names are called, we pass through the waiting room to an inner glass-paned viewing center, where pink dye is painted on their teeth, new toothbrushes are handed out, and my kids take turns heading in for teeth cleanings and checkups. Sitting beside my towering son on curved wooden benches, we crack jokes, I flip magazine pages, and we peek in at Daniel and Morgan who flash thumbs-up signs and blow kisses. 

Throughout the next hour and a half, my teens and I crack jokes, talk about life, and blow kisses to little Daniel who wriggles patiently on his green elevated chair behind the window pane and dreams of the Ninja prize afterwards. 

At home, college applications pile up from the mail for one son, while tiny Spiderman-underwear fly off my deck and across the lawn from another son. Teen daughter stands tall beside me each night, asking her dad, “Am I taller than Mom yet?!” 

My nose pricked today at the dentist office. Laughing and sitting shoulder to shoulder with my older kids, and blowing kisses to my Ninja-waiting preschooler, I realized how short this time with them is, and how precious they are. 

Savor each moment, my friends, of your kids, nieces and nephews, or grandkids. They are so precious. 

The wind chimes blow hard outside my window right now, and yellow leaves race by.  

I love talking with you, friends. Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. What helps you best savor times with family or friends? What is a hindrance? (To comment from email, click here.

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Wind chimes Photo credit 

John and Morgan photo credit to Becky Pratts 


Jayne said...

You are so right about how fast they grow up. My oldest 2 are twins and are 21 years old. People always told me how fast time would fly by. One day they were here the next they were off to college. Just 2 months ago one got married. This Spring her twin brother will graduate from college while her younger brother will graduate from high school and will be off to college. In a year I will be an empty nester. sigh
Enjoy every moment, every laugh, even every bad moment.
It is nice to meet you, too, Jennifer. I enjoy your blog and have added it to my list of links.

Paula @ Beauty Through Imperfection said...

awww this post made me want to cry!

my loves are so little right now (23 months and 2 months) but I know it won't be but a few blinks of the eye and I will be looking at colleges and planning weddings. It's exhausting, but joyous and I don't want to miss out on any of it being too tired!!! <3 sigh.

Unknown said...

I love ordinary moments with my kids like that. Yesterday Daughter #2 had an orthodontist appointment but she was also asked to babysit. Since the two conflicted, I moved her ortho appointment to during her school lunch hour. I ended up taking her to the orthodontist and then Chick-fil-a for lunch. It's amazing how much some laughter and chicken nuggets can bond our hearts together!

Unknown said...

Slowing down helps me savor the moments with my kids, husband, and friends. When I am focused on what happens next, or we have to go, I forget to enjoy where I'm at. I'm like you - I have three older ones who are 14, 12, and 8 and a little guy who is just turning 3 this month. I think he helps us all slow down, and he has reminded me of how fast it all goes!

Jennifer Dougan said...


Wow, college and newly-married kids! It really does go by so fast, huh? One year to an empty nest... whew. :)

Nice to have you here, Jayne. I'm honored.


Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you. It goes so fast, and is fun at every stage. 23 months and 2 months-- ohh, I love those times too. The snuggles, the feedings up close, the soft baby faces, ahhh...

Hang in there, nap often, and kiss those sweet cheeks.

Nice to meet you,

Jennifer Dougan said...


A mother daughter date over chicken and laughter--- I love those!


Jennifer Dougan said...


"Forgetting to enjoy where I'm at..." -- I like that, Kara. That's powerful.

You do seem to have similar ages as me! What fun.

Have a great week. Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer Dougan