Fearful, but Moving Forward

Riley Playing on Slide

JULY 18, 2019

I promised myself when I started this new blog that I was going to be real, and open, and honest. If I’m going to take that seriously then I need to admit that I am absolutely terrified right now. I know that this fear is bigger than it needs to be, but I’m having trouble ignoring that little voice in my head chanting “what if… what if…? What if everything goes wrong and the worst of all things really happens?”

The Story

Let me back up and explain a little bit. My daughter’s dental health is not ideal. There may be a genetic component. It may be because I didn’t learn until too late that letting her fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth was detrimental. It may be because she likes juice more than water. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s all of the above.

We can’t be sure. What we do know is that it isn’t her hygiene routine. Riley absolutely loves to brush her teeth. If we let her, she would grab the whole tube of her Elmo Orajel toothpaste and just gulp the whole thing down. She brushes as many times a day as she can, so we’re pretty sure that isn’t the problem. Even if we forgot once in a while, she would remind us.

She has a few cavities in her back teeth, and they’re causing her quite a bit of pain, so she’s avoiding a lot of foods. She’s starting to develop some nutritional deficiencies. Her immune system is suffering; she’s missing school because of it. However, because of her autism, there are some extra hurdles to face in getting this situation remedied.

Riley eating watermelon

The Big Fear

In a few weeks, she’ll be undergoing general anesthesia in an operating room to get everything taken care of. I know she’s in excellent hands. She’ll be so much happier and more comfortable once this is dealt with, but this is my baby. Just knowing that there is even a fraction of a percentage of a chance that she might have some kind of reaction to the anesthesia or something absolutely fills me with fear.

I won’t be allowed in the room for the procedure, and in all honesty, that’s probably for the best. If I were, I know full well that I would panic if there were even the slightest hiccup in the plan. I keep trying to remind myself that I opted for general anesthesia when I got my wisdom teeth removed years ago, and it was no big deal. It’s even safer now than it was back then. It just doesn’t feel the same. All of my nerves are going toward this tiny little being going under.

Playing in the dirt

Powering Forward

The financial piece of this is not small either, but honestly? I have zero stress about that. I’d gleefully declare bankruptcy for her if I needed to any day of the week. My fear is entirely centered around her well-being at this point.

I know that as her mother I’m biased. I still believe that she is the purest, sweetest, most fascinating entity I have ever encountered, and her brilliance is astounding. No one has ever met her without falling in love. People who have worked with kids for decades work with her for a single hour and then pull me aside to impress upon me how intense and enthralling she is, as if I don’t already know.

She just turned four years old. She doesn’t speak in full sentences yet, when she speaks at all. She’s already changing people’s lives, bestowing love and hope. I have no idea how I was capable of having a hand in creating something so awe-inspiring, but I know her presence makes the world a better place. I am terrified that anything could stop her from achieving that. But if I lost her, I wouldn’t even care what the rest of the world lost. I wouldn’t remember that the rest of the world existed. All I would know is that I lost her.

I’m absolutely terrified.


The procedure went well, and she did great!