When I was little and had my first loose tooth, I wiggled it around for days and complained that it hurt and I couldn’t eat. After a few days my mom said, “Come here pumpkin, and let me feel how loose it is.” So I walked up to her, mouth wide open, so proud of my wobbly little tooth. She reached in there and said “Ohhh, it is [YANKED IT OUT] pretty loose.”
I was furious that she pulled it, but so stunned by the ordeal that it didn’t hurt at all. For every tooth after that, we’d go through the same motions. I’d make her promise she wouldn’t pull it, my heart pounding because I knew she would. And every single time, she’d yank it out and I wouldn’t feel a thing.
As I grew up, I realized that I needed my mom to force me into something scary a lot. She stayed on the phone with me hundred of times and pushed me to stay at Wake Forest when I wanted to transfer. When I stood at the Atlanta airport, absolutely petrified to fly to Africa, she gave me a little nudge in the small of my back toward the security line. When I tried to back out of moving to New York, she put the clothes in my suitcase when I couldn’t.
I’m 25 years old, and I’m not sure that I will ever stop needing my mom to pull my teeth.