Growth, rebirth, change…November and all its scenery of falling leaves, football, sunsets, and unpredictable pre-winter weather pretty much sums up that theme of change, right?
We had a Dad in here this week who told me a great story about what it was like when his mom brought him and his brothers to the dentist. He grew up in a big city and their dentist was downtown in a big high-rise building. And this was back in the dark ages of Pediatric Dentistry, before we specialized. See, the thing about being a kid’s dentist and not an adult’s dentist is that adults are quite happy to sit down in a comfortable, quiet waiting room, pick up a copy of Southern Living or Time Magazine and read about the latest fashion, rose bush, grill, or movie.
Good luck getting your eight year-old to join you in that quiet magazine reading time. And I need to point out that kids are not that different today than they were when I was eight, or when Grandpa was eight. They’re just wired differently than adults and their motors run at higher RPM’s than ours do. I’ll bet Neanderthal moms were fussing at their little eight year-old Neanderthal cave boy kids to “Put down that club before you poke your sister’s eye out!”
So where was I?
This Dad, the one that grew up in the big city up north, when he went to the dentist, it was a family affair. Mom would make one appointment and all five of them would pile into the car, take an elevator up thirty floors then wait their turn to see the dentist. I can see some of y’all already shaking your heads in disbelief. My Dad friend said he and his brothers would quickly sneak out of the huge waiting room and one of their favorite pastimes was to drop pennies down the staircase and watch them flutter and fall and clink their way to the bottom. Boys being boys, they soon escalated this exercise to include anything that wasn’t nailed down in the dentist’s office. They were caught red-handed by the steely-eyed receptionist when the copper ash tray (I told you this was way back when) headed towards the door.
After we shared a big been there, done that, wisdom of Dad laugh, he wistfully told me that those fluttering, shiny pennies reminded him of autumn, and vice versa. Every year, when the leaves change color to a coppery sheen, drop away from their parent tree and flutter off on their own, he is reminded that the innocence and rambunctiousness of childhood is fleeting.
In a roundabout way, that’s why I decided to be a Pediatric Dentist. There’s a lot of kid still in me. I didn’t throw pennies down a thirty floor stairwell, but I can remember sitting on a couch while the scent of ether and alcohol wafted through a waiting room, flipping through a Southern Living and rolling my eight year-old eyes. If I’d had access to a thirty floor stairwell, that ashtray would’ve been history.
So when you’re outside raking November’s leaves, remember that childhood is fleeting. Take the time to make a positive memory that will stay with your kids for a long time. Go drop some pennies down a stairwell and listen to them clink their way to the floor.
And if you’re looking for a Dad that knows how to make kids smile and laugh while sneaking in a little Pediatric Dentistry, just give us a call or stop in. We’re always happy to offer a free consultation or a little play time in our (ground floor) jungle gym of a waiting room.