Dentures and Ventures


I’m pretty sure my son will have dentures by the time he’s twelve. 

Along with my blue eyes and incredible wit (not to mention humility),  he also inherited one of my less prominent traits: grace.  My ability to waltz into a room with style and poise is not so much hidden as it is non-existent.  (I once tripped over an obviously there retaining wall at the beach; landing face first in the sand, and surrounded by sealions.   My L4 herniated, but my pride remained in tact . . . I had experienced way more embarrassing falls.) 

 My son, though charming in character,  fights his feet like his mother.

Daily he trips on his shoes, on the sidewalk, on the air.  He runs into poles, signs, and the rear ends of strangers.  His knees are scraped, elbows bruised, toes permanently turned under. I, knowing how it feels to lose the battle with gravity, try to show empathy.  It usually sounds something like: “stop crying, that’s what happens when you don’t watch where you’re going.”

He doesn’t cry much anymore. 

Now I’m trying to teach him how to break his fall with something other than his teeth.   After losing a fight with his sister, he ended up on the cement floor in Old Navy.  Six loose teeth, three weeks of pudding, and a funny lisp later – they pulled his two front teeth.  Four others came out in subsequent incidents:  he tripped on the water (a miracle in its own right) and lost a tooth poolside, he tripped trying to smell cookies and lost a tooth on the granite countertop, he tripped with a marshmallow in his mouth and lost a tooth in the fluff,  the fourth came out in a Lego incident I never did fully clarify.  Just last week, he tried to dribble a basketball with his teeth after his feet gave way mid-court.  He lost the six-year-old molar that broke ground last month. 

So far all the victims have been baby teeth, but at this rate he is well on his way to dentures.

I took him to my favorite trail once, hoping to teach him the art of spotting.  Spotting is every trail runner’s secret weapon.  A sixth sense of sorts: it is the ability to focus the eyes in the perfect line of sight.  Far enough ahead to avoid the dangers of hidden rocks and roots.  Lifted towards the sky enough to maintain a posture that protects the knees.  Close enough that short-term memory loss won’t mess with the timing of the step.  It is, in a way, like having perfect and complete foresight.

My history of falls makes me good at spotting: it is an essential tool for me to run trail.  I wanted my coordination challenged son to have the same tool.

I only wish that I possessed the same kind of foresight in life, that I possess on the trail.

I had to make a decision this week.  A really hard decision.  Whatever I chose affected me, my family, and a number of  other people who had no say in the matter.  I wanted nothing more than to make the right decision, I desperately longed for perfect foresight. 

If only I could feel the consequences of the decision,  could discern a few more details about the future, could uncover the destination of the path I chose.   But I could not.

God asked me to look up.  At him.  That’s a scary thought for a trail runner — looking up usually means eminent disaster. 

God made a promise.  If I look up, if I acknowledge Him, then He will direct my steps. 

God is my perfect foresight.

I made a decision.The journey to that decision was like going up God’s favorite trail, and letting him teach me how to spot.  He kept His promise, and I knew which path to take. 

I still worry that I made the right choice.  But I figure if I stumble, God will catch me. 

And if all else fails . . . there’s alway dentures.

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