February 15, 2010

The Point of No Return

Last week, my 5 1/2 year old son, D, lost his first tooth. It had been loose for about 6 months, and he would often talk about how excited he was.

The night before he lost it, the tooth (one of his top front teeth) was extremely wiggly, and started to bleed during dinner. The blood frightened him very much. He sat on my lap, hysterically crying. "Mama," he cried, "I don't want to lose my tooth. I'm scared." My husband and I tried to talk him through it, how everyone loses their teeth, that it's a natural rite of passage. Luckily, it came out the next day, with no more blood to show for it.

I remember having that exact same feeling D was experiencing, when I was about six months pregnant with him. Being that it was my first pregnancy, my husband and I took one of those classes at the hospital where they teach labor methods, breathing techniques, and show videos of both vaginal and c-section births. After the class with the videos, I was frightened. Of course, I had KNOWN where babies come from, and KNEW where my son would make his exit....but seeing it on video was very scary. I remember thinking that I was in a position where I was at the point of no return...I was pregnant, and I was going to deliver this baby, by one method or another. No going back.

Of course, we are ALL in this predicament...the point of no return. It's called life. Just the mere fact that we are alive means that we are aging every day....every day brings us one step closer to toddlerhood, adolescence, to adulthood, to middle age, to being a senior citizen and beyond. At some point, if we live long enough, we all get gray hair, wrinkles, and an increase of health-related issues. It's part of life. The only way not to progress is not to be on this crazy ride called life. It is scary. Just as my son was scared to lose his first tooth, I am nervous about turning forty (FORTY!!) in a few weeks. I am not afraid of the number; I don't look forty, and God only knows I don't ACT middle-aged. It's more of the idea of being past that point of no return...I will no longer be in my 30s, which definitely sounds younger.

Luckily, we all go through this process. My parents did, and still are; their parents did, and their parents did. Just as my son and daughter are, and their future children will as well. Many of the choices we make (diet, exercise, relationships, etc) can positively or negatively impact the aging process, but at the end, we all end up at the same place.


  1. I will definately take aging over the alternative. And you're right, there are some things that are in our control about how we age. Losing teeth is not one of them. Maybe that's what's so scary, the things we can't control about aging? Missing teeth and gray hair....oh wait, the gray hair is me...

  2. The fear of mortality sets in. I can remember (and I am a somewhat dark person) thinking when Dylan was born that one day I would die and not see him anymore. Yes, morbid but that is what I thought. The idea of a number I think is something arbitrary. If we take care of ourselves, eat well, exercise...don't act "old", laugh, travel, etc then we are never truly old. You see beautiful older women and you know that they are happy and have laughed a lot. I can only wish that for all of us...a lifetime of laughter and love.


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