Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. Psalm 25:7 (NIV)
Today, youngest son visited the pediatric dentist for the last time. In six months, when his next appointment rolls around, he will be eighteen and too old for her practice. He has really been too big for a while. He no longer comfortably fits in her dental chair. His legs hang over the edge. It has been a long time since he got excited about a treat from the treasure chest, and though he remains cavity free, he no longer even enters the monthly drawing for a prize. Today, in the chair next to him, a six year old boy chattered away about the tooth his daddy just pulled, while youngest son nodded politely and admired his gaping hole. What a contrast to how life used to be. When youngest son was born, his ring and middle fingers were red from where he had been sucking on them in the womb. He refused a pacifier and chose instead to comfort himself with those two fingers in his mouth, his pinky resting on the left side of his nose and his pointer finger on the right. Oldest son used a pacifier, and when he turned two, we “accidentally” dropped it in the trash and that was the end of that. If it caused him distress, we never knew about it. But, how to rid youngest son of the finger sucking habit created a dilemma. We tried everything short of amputating his fingers. When he turned four, the same dentist he saw today, laid down the law. Stop the finger sucking or she would. We finally agreed to the placement of a device in roof of his mouth that made it uncomfortable to put his fingers in there as well. We agonized over the decision because it caused him great pain both emotional and physical, not to mention the drain on our wallet. But, then, youngest son has never done anything the easy way. The morning after the installation, his dentist left town for vacation. Just before lunch, after less than twenty four hours in his mouth, youngest son took a pair of wire cutters and clipped it out. Remember, he was only four. Determined and crafty. Furious, I took him to the dentist on call. I will never forget what happened next. Youngest son marched in to meet a complete stranger and struck a bargain. He announced, “You do not have to put it back in. Just give me one week and I will stop sucking my fingers on my own. I promise.” The dentist shrugged his shoulders and agreed. By the time our regular dentist returned from her vacation, his habit was broken and we never mentioned it again. The dentist and I can laugh about it now, but then, it wasn’t at all funny. Yet, God in His steadfast love and wisdom has reworked that strong willed little boy into a strong willed and compassionate young man. Oh, what a difference God in his timing has made.