Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mom, You're Enough

Sam's half-numb smile.

"Can you please come back?"

Hurriedly, I grab my bag and walk back to where I just left Sam minutes earlier after reassuring him I'd be in the waiting room. "If you want me just point, and someone will come get me."

"He wants you here," the dentist says, as I sit in the chair they've set just outside the room.

"I'm here, Buddy." I reassure him from behind in the hopes that my voice will be enough to set him at ease.

My presence. That's all I can give him.

The dentist continues her procedure. I watch. His foot wiggles and shakes. His hand tenses and squeezes his leg. And with every motion my teeth clench and my stomach knots.

I'm a mom. So his pain hurts me.

Sam is 11 years old and enduring a root canal. Plagued with teeth problems for years, his pediatric dentist says it's due to him being born prematurely . . that his teeth didn't get sufficient enamel. I'm sure being the youngest and having a mom who is a tad less vigilant with diet and dental care on number six than she was on kids one to five doesn't help. But I'll take the dentist's explanation and anything to relieve mom-guilt!

"Do you feel pain?" she asks.

He nods. I frown. He's always had trouble getting numb. He's one tough kid! His dentist says he's better than 99% of the adults she sees.

So I sit. And pray that God would guide her hands and keep him calm and lessen his discomfort.

She keeps asking him if he's okay. He keeps saying, "Uh, huh." I love that kid.

I'm not used to sitting still and doing nothing (hence I type out this post with thumbs on my iPhone). I'm a fixer. But I'm not a dentist, and I can't do root canals.

Even though he can't see me, Sam wants me near. That's all I can give and as far as I can go to "fix" this trying situation for my son.

I want to go rub his foot like I did earlier when he was being shot up with Novocain. But I'd get in the way. So I sit.

Soon enough it's over, and my warrior rises from the chair battle worn but triumphant. And still smiling.

But he's not offering to show the dentist card tricks like he was when we arrived. He's ready to go!

On the drive home I praise him for being strong. And then I ask him, "Why'd you want me back there with you?"

"I just did."

"It can be scary, huh?"

"I wasn't scared. I just wanted you there."

And a window opens in my never enough paradigm. A possibility.

My presence. Not my work. Not my words. Not even my touch. Just my presence.

It is enough.

I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and other mothers celebrating her new book Surprised by Motherhood. Go here to read the first few chapters and join the link up . . . what's surprised you about motherhood?


  1. Oh mama of many ...I feel your pain. Beautiful reminder that what we have to offer - just being there - is enough. Interesting tidbit about prematurity. Never thought of that. Happy Sunday!

    1. Thanks for being HERE, Lisha. Your presence is a gift. XO

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachael! And thank you for taking the time to encourage me by commenting.

  3. What a lovely story, and what a privilege to be a mom to someone who longs for your presence. I wrote a similar reflection, but it was about a time when my mom's presence was a comfort to me:

    Thank you for sharing this encouragement!

  4. your sweet 11 year-old warrior, to the shift in your paradigm, to the beauty of just "being there". <3

  5. Oh, Kim. I have been there with my then 11-year-old girl, in pain in the chair. Yes, only my presence to offer. I love the realization of this gift of YOU alone in the life of your boy. It spoke straight to my never-feeling-enough-as-a-mama heart. Much love to you. Blessed by your place today.

  6. Isn't it a rare moment that we see our presence is enough. Just to be the mom. Just to be available. Simple, but not easy like so many things! Yet, isn't this so often just what we need from God? Just to know He is with us.

  7. My 2 youngest had tons more cavities. The other 3 rarely had a cavity. I decided it was the bottled water (no flouride) because we lived on the soccer fields - and that's what they drank.

    I miss when just my presence made everything all right. Sweet days! BTW - I think we must be mom twins - I'm the exact same way - I want to fix everything. I'm learning to let go some so my boys can learn to fix things - in a training wheel kind of way - and, boys, is that hard!


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