When you become a parent, there is a point at which the over-clichéd "it hurts me more than it hurts you" becomes more certain and true than the Salvation Army red-bucketed bell ringers who show up at every mall in America immediately following Thanksgiving dessert.  When an ankle is sprained or an arm broken or a chin split, we’d gladly assume the pain and treatment for our children.

My middle child is the one in our family who needs us to feel his pain, even if it’s just a paper cut or hang nail (which in his case is the approximate equivalent of decapitation or loss of limb); if we don’t adequately commiserate, he’ll make sure we know he’s in pain, loudly, proudly, and with all the drama and pageantry fit for a queen.   

Not a surprise to us was Thomas needs braces.  What was a surprise is our discovery that the kid is missing (counting…) TEN permanent teeth!  You can imagine our confusion that his course of orthodontic treatment would include, paradoxically, more extractions.  (Counting again…) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 over the past two years–four the first time, five the second, and most recently, two more ripped from his (post-procedure) bloody gums. 

When we found out about the last two extractions, Tad and I went to the mattresses for the kid.  WAS THIS REALLY NECESSARY???  Dr. M patiently and thoroughly explained just why it would help give him an eventual "best" result. 

Let’s just say Thomas–a 13-year-old, image-conscious middle schooler–was a bit more difficult to convince.  Short of ripping our clothes and donning sackcloth and ashes, our sympathy was a large measure of consolation to him, almost as good as the 600 mg ibuprofen he popped like Smarties. 

Why this story, now?  Click the picture and see what’s in the mystery box (and thank me for sparing you color…sepia-izing it minimizes the dried blood…).


Thanks to all of you who ventured a guess on Wednesday’s picture; the first commentor with the correct answer came quickly, Ellen, but the following made me smile or giggle or snort or blow a little spit on my screen:

  • nose hair collection box, Erica (the most disgustingly original guess)
  • "I sink it’s maybe, um, beach clothes or, um, some decorations. Or maybe it’s just nothing.", Jenny, but her four-year-old’s guess (interesting how a toddler mind thinks)
  • tiny pieces of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Jen (cause it means she’s reading my blog)
  • lined with cotton to protect the umbilical cord stumps, Kaytabug (I was wondering if anyone would guess u.c.s. because I actually have those somewhere, I think)
  • the small amount of "free time" you get in your day, Kenna (ahhh! thinking outside the box!)
  • where you keep your bad thoughts.  Obviously, from the size of the box, you don’t have many, Robinella (the flattery at the end got her a mention 😉 ).
  • An AK-47? A basketball? A guitar pick? Min (the random insanity, though totally predictable, is just one of the many reasons I **heart** this Mama)

If you email your snail mail to me, y’all…one day please don’t hold your breath in the meantime, I’m REEEAL slow :/ I’ll get a surcie in the mail to ya!

BIGTIME hattip to Willowtree, for finally giving up how to make your pictures switch when you click ’em (word of advice, if you click his link here, DO NOT click his picture in the post.  Trust me on this…).

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