When my kids were young, we reluctantly took them to the kid’s dentist in town. Reluctantly, because the kid’s dentist was not a network provider for my dental insurance. Believe me, it was a hit to the budget of our young family. My oldest daughter had issues with the regular dentist and screamed bloody murder when we went for check ups to the point where we were no longer completely welcome there. Being believers in good dental hygiene, we bit the bullet and took my daughter and the twins to the kid’s dentist.
At the new dentist, the kids loved the toys in the waiting room, the picture books and the electric train which ran around the top of the wall. When it was time to go back to the exam chair, the dental hygienist would come call a particular kid and they would have to go back to the examination room without a parent. It was scary for my kids the first time or two and it was very scary and nerve-wracking for us parents. I remember sitting on pins and needles waiting for that familiar blood curdling scream to come from the back of the office. It never did. Eventually, each kid returned to the waiting room with a polished, shining smile.
Now, I am older and, of course, my children are older. The oldest is in her final student-teaching semester in college and the twins are off to start their college education as wide-eyed freshman. My wife and I stare empty nest syndrome square in the face, and like so many years ago with the dentist, we knew we must bite the bullet and sent our pride and joys off into the world. It was tough. In fact, it was very tough on a dad to cut the cord and send the kids off to be the great people God intended them to be. So, I sucked it up and acted like a tough guy on the outside while falling apart with worry on the inside.
As I pulled away and drove home after the drop offs, the memory of that dentist office floated back into my head. Here my wife and I sit, alone again in the waiting room. This time, It is even more scary and nerve-wracking. But, deep down, I know it will be okay. I believe in those young people of mine and I know they will come out shining as awesome adults.