Six year-old Eli and I each have a cavity. Today is the day we go to the dentist to have holes drilled in our teeth. I told Eli that he will get a shot in his mouth, which will hurt. He looked at me with his big brown eyes, at once stoic and melancholy, like this is the sort of news he expects to hear on any given day. I hope he doesn’t cry, because then I will want to cry.
When they are done torturing him, they will turn to me. I won’t get a shot in my mouth, because my dentist told me the drilling required is so light that I probably don’t need it.
“Probably” is not a comforting word, when you are not the one holding the drill. I’d just as soon get the shot. But the reality is that because my dentist told me he would go without it, the Man Code now requires that I forgo the painkiller as well. Truth be told, I’d just as soon have two holes drilled in my teeth if I could spare Eli his misery. Afterwards I think we are going to get a treat. And tonight we will have a lesson in flossing, which is never pretty when a little boy does it, but is better than the alternative.