Have you ever lost a permanent tooth? That shit’s a big deal.
So, when my kid came to me a couple weeks ago, saying that this tooth was loose, I brushed it off (while silently hoping it would handle itself.) I told him to try to chew on the other side of his mouth, and that I’d call the dentist.
See, I thought that the tooth he was pointing to was a permanent tooth coming in. (He’d had his baby tooth pulled from that spot when he was four, and for many years it was empty…and now it wasn’t!)
I forgot to call the dentist. (That’s right, mother of the year!!)
But then, last week, he mentioned it was bothering him again, that it felt really wiggly, and that he was scared it was going to fall out. He also showed me a bleeding gum (which I didn’t love, to be honest.) I told him to try to chew on the other side of his mouth, and that I’d call the dentist.
I googled and found that I should probably be in touch with the dentist. I forgot again. But this time, just for 24 hours!
So then next day, when I spoke with the dentist, she asked that I take a couple pictures of his teeth and send them over so she could have a look. I sent the photos and she called me back.
She basically said, “Uh, lady, that’s a baby tooth.”
In that moment, everything changed.
First, I felt like an idiot, but that’s a story for another day.
But, second, all the places I’d been holding on relaxed. I no longer had to worry about spending the rest of the day traveling to a dentist a four-hour round trip away, or the expense associated with fixing a permanent tooth that falls out, or dealing with my kid’s very strong emotional response to the idea of losing a grown up tooth. Or 900 other things that I will spare you because no one needs to go that far into the recesses of my mind.
I hung up the phone with the dentist, told the kid it was a baby tooth, and it was totally cool if it fell out. Literally 10 minutes later, he bit down on an apple and the tooth fell out.
Letting go isn’t easy, but there’s such relief.
He’d been trying to keep that tooth in his mouth because he thought that was what was supposed to happen. When he realized that what was happening was “OK,” he could let go of trying to control what happened with it.
Baby teeth wisdom.
So, really major change, fast, comes with two key steps:
- Accept what is right now.
- Let go of trying to influence the outcome.
(Yes, that was a long buildup to a quick bottom line, but it really can be that simple.)
What’s something in your life that you’ve been dissatisfied with that you’ve been trying to influence? What would happen if you just let go? Tell me in the comments below.