Tonight, as I was putting Dakota to bed the discussion subject of choice was teeth. He was lamenting that he had only lost a couple to this point and wondering if he would need braces once his teeth all came in. When I shared some of my experience with braces with him, he asked me if had lost all of my teeth. I hesitated for a moment. Of course I had lost all of my teeth, but I did not remember losing most of them! I have to imagine that losing teeth was as big of a deal for me as it is for Dakota and Addison – our Tooth Fairy is quite dedicated. How could I forget my own visits from the Tooth Fairy? How could I not remember such significant events in my life?
I became concerned as my train of thought continued to what other significant events and moments I could not remember. I was worried as I thought about the important things that someone must have said to me that I don’t even know were said because those things are either not in my head any more or just did not hang around as long as would have hoped. I was embarrassed as I realized there are probably – no certainly – things that I have done to offend, upset or hurt people that I simply do not remember. I also realized that, conversely, there are offenses, upsets and hurts done to me that I cannot recollect.
And, well … I have no meaty, pithy response to give this some perspective. I do not have the Jewish story or take that may lend some background to this dilemma. I only have this momentary realization (one that I might forget) that humbles me. I am humbled – not in the sense that I feel small or insignificant – but that I grasp for a moment both my possibilities- to love, to create and to heal and my limits – in loving, in creating and in healing. Grasping both are essential to me in remembering before whom I stand.