All I Want For Christmas

I went to visit my mum in the nursing home right before Christmas and took over a box of candy for her.  One of her friends had made it for her so I’d been talking up this candy to Mom for several visits, knowing how much she loves it.  I thought it was going to be rock candy, which is what the lady usually makes.  “No problem” I thought.  Mom could just suck on it and all would be fine.

So I was a little shocked when I opened it up and saw butter brickle and chocolate turtles instead.  With Mom’s teeth brittle as eggshells, we try to steer her clear of hard foods.  She’s on a soft diet at the home and when I do bring her candy, I usually limit it to things like truffles or fudge…soft stuff like that.  But there was Mom, looking at me expectantly.  What’s a daughter to do?  Ok, I caved and gave her one little, tiny piece of the chocolate turtle candy.  Her face lit up like it was Christmas.  Well, it was ……..almost.

After a little chitchat on my part, (Mom being mum, no pun intended, and busy chewing) I decided to wheel her on down to the library so I could read a book to her.  Once we got there, I realized that she was still chewing.  “Mom, are you having a little trouble chewing that candy?” I asked.

“Um, hum,” she mumbled, nodding her head up and down.

“Well, here, just spit it out into this tissue and I’ll throw it out” I offered as I leaned forward with tissue in hand.

She quickly spit into the tissue and I glanced at it.  Whoa!  There was one of her teeth!  Oh, man oh man.  This was not good.

“Hey, Mom!  Smile at me for a minute, OK?”

She smiled at me and sure enough, there was a gap right next to her eyetooth.  “Yikes, Mom!  You were chewing on one of your teeth.  No wonder you were having trouble chewing it.  It must have snapped right off.”

“Oh no!” she said and I could tell she was remembering those visits to the dentist with other snapped teeth.  Those appointments were no picnic.

“Well, it doesn’t look TOO bad” I said as encouragingly as I could.  “Smile at me again and let’s have another look.”

She smiled at me again and even though there was indeed a gap it wasn’t all that noticeable.   “Hey, now you can sing ‘All I Want For Christmas’ for the nurses” I joked.

Later, after I’d dropped her off at the dining room, I went back to the nurses’ station to let them know that Mom was now minus a tooth.  We all agreed that there wasn’t much sense in taking her to the dentist since the last time this had happened, they’d pretty much told me there wasn’t much else they could do for her teeth.  At 95, she still has her natural teeth but they are held together with baling wire, we like to joke.   “Guess I’ll go home and put Mom’s tooth under my pillow,” I said.  “At 95, maybe the tooth fairy will bring her $5 and then I can buy her some sweets that won’t take a tooth out.”

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