We have had a right of passage today as our eldest has lost his first wobbly tooth. I loved his reaction when he realised having swallowed it at lunch, ‘Paddington got sixpence under his pillow when he lost a tooth.’ He then delighted in showing me the next wobbly tooth. He has loved wobbling that first tooth all week at me, partly because of the reaction of shivers he gets from me.
As I cradled our youngest tonight as she wrestled the pains of teeth coming in I was struck by how teething and wobbly teeth serve as bookends to a season in our children’s lives. And with the first tooth being lost we are stepping out of the early years into a new season of growing up. And unlike rights of passage that come from outwith ourselves such as new school years, loosing teeth comes from within. It is part and parcel of who he is. It shows his body is growing up and what I have loved to watch today is how he has embraced this step. His mind and body and heart are growing up together. He runs his tongue along the new gap like a badge of honour. He fell asleep beaming as his tongue kept finding the space. He is ready for this next stage of growing and maturing.
This summer he has stepped out from his comfort zone and taken on new challenges and tried doing new things which we have delighted in watching. What I am thankful for though is that with this right of passage his younger brother cannot replicate it straight away. Throughout the summer our younger son has watched his older brother at the park doing new things and with his agility and fearlessness he has stepped out and followed his brother assuming that anything he can do he can also do and to be fair because of his physical confidence; that his older brother does not share; he often has been able to do the same things. At lunch he tried to explain to me that he too had lost a tooth but I had to explain that he had not yet and that he would have to wait a couple of years or so for which I am thankful. Our eldest often congratulated and encouraged his younger brother with his ability to do the same things at the park this summer but my heart longed for him to be free to do something for himself that was a mark of growing up that was not shared with a sibling.
I am excited to step out into this next season with our eldest and see him mature and grow, no longer a little boy but a young boy seeking to make sense of the world and its history.