I had my wisdom teeth out this past weekend. Five of them. My dad was very proud of me (my dad is my dentist), he had never seen in thirty years of dentistry a supernumerary tooth that looked like mine. It wasn't really an extra tooth, but more like a pearl shaped bone, just hanging out in the nether regions of my mouth. When he initially saw the x-rays of my mouth, taken on my birthday, he swelled with pride over his very own recessive DNA. I am wise and in the process of de-evolving the human race. Where is the steak darlings, mama's hungry.
Before this, my dad was never my dentist. I have always gone to see his partner. Nothing against Dad's craft, I was always just a little uneasy about the whole mess. Due to my lack of time and the subsequent necessity for an after hours surgery, having my dad extract my teeth was the only option this time around.
I have always had a profound respect for what my father does to earn a living. It impresses me more that he loves it so much. The occupation with the highest suicide rate in the world. The dentist; our contemporary proverbial boogey man. People weep at the sight of him. He still loves it though. Loves to work with his delicate hands. Loves to make people feel better, smile for him. He told me tonight for the first time that he finds the gap in my teeth to be a remarkably even and beautiful gap, and that he will never again offer to close it for me. When I was a child he used to cast jewelry for me. He made it out of the gold reserves he had at his office for caps and fillings. I still have a little gold K that he casted when I was 10, with a smidgin of a chip of a diamond in it which originally belonged to my mothers engagement ring when dad was in medical school. Oh my, how I digress . . .
Back to the story of extraction. I was indescribably nervous about the experience (apparently my dad was as well, he confessed to me tonight that he had the shakes before I came in, this coming from a man who hikes for three days in the jungle of Ecuador to preform oral surgery on children of impoverished villages once a year). I asked to remain awake for the whole procedure because I am terrified of anesthesia, and also it was my first chance to see my father at work. I most clearly remember beginning to hyperventilate and feeling one of his hands brush my hair off my forehead and hearing "Don't worry precious" while his other hand was busy twisting a pliers for dear life extracting a particularly infected tooth. Also looking into his eyes, his face slightly spattered with my blood as he stitched up my last socket, was something beautiful. He just kind of looked like he was sewing a quilt or something . . .
Now and forever. A daddy's girl.