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 

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  1. Jayne on October 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    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.

  2. Paula @ Beauty Through Imperfection on October 5, 2012 at 4:32 am

    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.

  3. Unknown on October 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    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!

  4. Unknown on October 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    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!

  5. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm


    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.


  6. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm


    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,

  7. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2012 at 8:35 pm


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


  8. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm


    "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

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