It’s the sound no mother wants to hear.
I was standing at the kitchen window, caught in the doing of the dishes, turning David’s poetry over in my mind. It was a typical noontime on a (finally!) perfect summer day. The kids were outside riding bikes when the air was cut sharp with the cry of a child.
My mind raced through the possibilities. “Which child? What’s wrong? How fast can I get these dishwashing gloves off my fingers?”
My littlest one ran in, the red trailing behind her, pouring from her, while terror trembled in her eight year old voice. She opened a swelling, quivering mouth, and revealed a little white shard where a whole tooth had been.
I grabbed wads of paper towel with one hand and called the dentist with the other, answering their queries in my “everything’s gonna be okay” voice.
“Yes, it’s a permanent tooth. No, I can’t find the missing piece. Yes, I can be there in fifteen minutes.”
The miles slipped down the road and she sobbed in the back seat. “I’m so scared. I’m not pretty anymore. I don’t think they can fix it. Are you scared too?”
I rehearsed the answers that I believe with all my heart, speaking truth to her swaying faith: “Anna, this is not what we expected today, but it was not a surprise to God. He is with us. He longs to take care of you and carry you close in His arms. You can trust Him. You can trust me and Daddy because we love you so much. And you’ll always be beautiful to us.”
Just two days ago, this sweet girl wanted to decorate a shirt with “Bible things.” She wanted the cross. The trinity. Words from her two favorite verses: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” And this: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Yesterday she wore her promises. Today she had to walk in them.
The Lord’s kindness was revealed in a gathering of graces, from the gentle hands of a gifted dentist to a silly, swollen kiss for Daddy. In Anna’s little world, this was a great, big thing. And in the end, I think she got a glimpse of her great, big God.