Last Thursday night Benjamin woke up screaming in pain.
I ran upstairs. His body was lurching forward and backward, legs kicking. Finally I calmed him down and said, “Is it your tooth, baby? Does your tooth hurt?”
“Okay. Listen. Tomorrow morning, first thing, we’ll go to the Sticker Doctor (the dentist) and he’ll take the tooth away. Alright?”
“Okay, Mommy.” Until then I gave him some Motrin and watched him drift off to sleep.
When we got to the hospital the next morning, the dentist looked at both of us – bracing himself – he remembered us from the last time when Benjamin fought the body wrap with so much strength that he nearly broke free.
Benjamin looked at that long chair and the board they were going to strap him into and then looked at me.
“You’re going to be fine baby,” I’m trying to choke back my own tears because I hate this shit, “You will. You’re going to be brave and strong. And it is going to hurt, but only for a little bit. And when you’re done they’ll give you Thomas stickers, okay?”
And then an entire room of adults were completely humbled and awed by the strength of a little 2-year-old. Benjamin laid down on the chair, offered up his wrists so they could be tied and completely relaxed. He locked into my eyes and I started carressing his little feet – the only things sticking out of the body wrap.
First the laughing gas, which he breathed slowly, then the long numbing needle and then the actual tooth pulling. Not one of these phased him. He was completely calm the entire time. Stoic. Strong. Brave.
The dentists couldn’t believe it. Never before had they ever seen a “2-year-old extraction” go so well. Never. When we were walking out the dentist was telling the story to a group of residents and nurses, “There he is… completely still the entire time.” They were all shaking their heads in disbelief and giving Benjamin loud cheers.
Where does this come from? This strength? This tolerance for pain? From me or his father? Or maybe he just really loves Thomas stickers. We finally got into the car. Benjamin was clutching his stickers for dear life (all 15 of them – the nurses were very generous). And finally the tears came. Tears of pride. The first I’ve ever had in my life.
I turned my head and shouted, “Benjamin – you kicked ASS! You were AMAZING! Give me five!”
And he did. He slapped me a high five and nodded his head. His toothless grin all lop-sided thanks to the numbness. I love that kid. More than anything. Our bond, as he’s growing older, is becoming more and more apparent. He and I are officially soul mates, bound at the hip or connected to each other for the rest of our lives – because we are in this together.
I love it.
And when I read nasty YouTube comments from men who would never date a single mom because they’d always come second to her child, I think… “Yeah, you’re damn right you would because I’m second to him too. The kid comes first – always.” And if any man can’t understand that a child should come first – then he is a child himself.
As my mom told me the other night, “If someone can’t love a kid, than they can’t love anyone.”
Peace my single mamas.
This single mama is going to have a very relaxing Monday night – the one night of week of pure “Me” time.