The older daughter (12, going on 16) came home from the dentist in tears, yesterday morning. We'd been wondering about a couple of suspicious gaps in her upper bridge. Turns out there were two baby teeth that hadn't yet left the scene. After yanking them out, the dentist informed my daughter she could come back in a month to get fitted for a retainer.
Adding insult to injury, my daughter was slated to attend a Twilight themed sleep-over birthday party, in which participants could dress up like their favorite vampire. With her already weenie incisors now completely removed from the picture, this adolescent would-be vampire looked just a little ... odd.
But it was the looming threat of the retainer that really had her number. I took a deep breath and listened to the sob-story. I attempted placation. I took another deep breath and listened some more. I phoned her mother at work, and summed up the scene. Mom and daughter talked. The tears slowed to a halt.
By lunch time the older daughter was regaling the younger with slapstick stories about the dentist's clumsiness and confusion. Hoots of laughter ensued, and I was thinking, Is this what stories are for? To keep us from getting too serious about our annoyances and grief?
Forty-four years old, and I'm just getting a clue.
This piece which details the relationship and temperament of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her writer-daughter Rose comes to mind, for reasons I probably shouldn't dwell upon.