LAST WEEK WE’RE DRIVING home from the dentist and my son says, “Gee, you’re sure crabby.”
“I know I am,” I respond. “I can’t help it.”
It’s not that I dislike the dentist or the hygienist or any of the dental office staff. I don’t dislike having my teeth cleaned. But I don’t like having my teeth cleaned either.
I do, however, dislike the cost of dental work. I’ve just written a check for $325 and two days later my husband is due back for more dental work.
The dentist has just informed me that because my son is missing two permanent molars, he will need dental implants. Not today. Not tomorrow. But when his baby teeth either fall out or are pulled out.
“How much does that cost?” I ask.
“Six thousand dollars,” she answers and then suggests that he start saving his money. And how exactly, I want to ask her, do you expect a 16-year-old, who doesn’t have a job, who will have a college education to finance and other expenses, save $6,000? By the time he needs the implants, the cost will likely be even higher.
She emphasizes that the financial responsibility for the dental implants will be his, not mine. I want to say, but don’t, that I cannot in good conscience as a mother expect my son to bear that cost.
And then the dentist turns to me, asks if I’ve ever considered getting braces. She goes on for awhile before I finally manage to squeeze in my comment. Yes, I’ve seen an orthodontist, I say, but my kids come first.
Then she pats me on the knee, tells me it’s now time to do something special for myself.
I am close to tears. She just doesn’t get it. I don’t have a tree in my backyard that grows $1,000 bills.
So, yes, on the drive home, I am crabby, very crabby.
And when my husband returns from the dentist on Friday, I am even crabbier.
© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling