I Had a Cavity. Now I Have a Pimple


I Had a Cavity. Now I Have a Pimple

phone-14131_640A few weeks ago, I learned I had a cavity during my six-month cleaning appointment.

I could tell something was awry when Karen, my hygienist, kept poking at my back wisdom tooth. Poke, poke and finally, "I'm wondering about this back wisdom tooth."

I'm aghast. "I haven't had a cavity in probably 40 years," I exclaim.

The dentist confirms the cavity.

I go from aghast to incredulous. I can't stop talking about this cavity. "I have a cavity," I declare in a way that announces that this cavity truly insults me.

I get the cavity filled during a dental appointment that lasts 20 minutes.

Now, I have a pimple. I can't stop talking about this pimple.  "I'm 51 years old," I proclaim to my 21-year-old-niece. "I don't know why I have a pimple." She suggests I use toothpaste to "take out the redness."

I cover the pimple with toothpaste, then concealer, then foundation. For some reason, I also wear lipstick. I'm sweating a bit under all this make-up.

What's interesting to me is that this cavity and this pimple are truly small inconveniences. I really have much bigger problems that keep me up at night. While I complain about the cavity and pimple, I stay silent about my big worries.

Last night, my dad asked me to help him with the answering machine. The answering machine is a bit of an obsession with my dad--he frets about it, kinda hovers over it. He worried something was wrong so asked me to call the home number on my cell phone. We discovered nothing was wrong. When he asked me for help, I could feel my impatience rising. I was late for our 9 p.m. ET chat, I needed to get the chatroom ready. As I watched him fumble with the answering machine, I calmed down. This is a worry for him and if I can resolve this little worry, then it's time well spent.

I often grow impatient with my parents because I feel they focus so much energy on worrying about such unimportant situations. How long did it take for one of my siblings to return a call? Who can make the next family get-together? When will we get together next? Except I just fretted about my cavity (which is now filled) and my pimple (which will be gone soon). It occurs to me that sometimes it's easier to whine about these little things because it's so hard to verbalize our bigger fears. I think my parents really fear being forgotten, overlooked, which is why they spend so much time counting. They worry they don't count.

It's helpful for me to remember that it's easier to talk about my cavity than my true fears. And, so it is with my parents. Knowing this will hopefully help me stay patient when the fretting returns.

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I love this, Denise. The simplicity of it is so \"penetrating\"......oops. What, me worry?


This blog post echoes my own feelings recently! I really like the parallel you draw between your own small worries and theirs. Today I found my mom crying over her leg injury even though it's SO much better. She said she felt useless, she felt like it was lasting forever, she didn't understand why it still hurt. . . It frustrated me that she was feeling so sorry for herself for something that seemed so minor - especially at this point - but then I thought, maybe she is really grieving her youth and health and all of the things she has already done for the last time. :-(