The other night, my daughter pulled out her first two loose teeth. She grasped at the one that had been wiggly for weeeeeeks… and it came out. Emboldened by the painlessness of this process (I think), she messed with that tooth’s neighbor and out it came about 10 minutes later. 

I missed it. I was out with my friend at dinner. 

When I came home after bedtime, a tiny Ziploc bag containing two stubby nuggets — small spots of blood on them —  sat atop my dresser. Carefully scrawled in Sharpie: “Open” with an arrow pointing toward the zip. (Extra directions for the tooth fairy). 

I sat down with that bag in my palm and stared at it for a long time. I just let the meaning of these teeth wash over me. Another step out of babyhood and into kid-dom. A miracle of biology that the big teeth just “know” when to start growing, thus displacing the old. The way our cells are constantly shedding and replacing; nothing is permanent. The human body is a miracle, at every stage and every age. Of course, these thoughts traveled through my mind in zig zags and eventually subsided to no thoughts at all. I was just in awe. 

Photo by Samuel Silitonga on

For me, awe is a radical focus that beholds what is right in front of us. For me, awe is that state of presence where my breath slows down, my stomach muscles relax, my brain goes silent, and all I can do is behold. 

The challenge is to allow myself to go silent. To believe that words are unnecessary. To allow our brains to stop, our breath to slow, and our stomachs to relax. Even for 30 seconds. To rest in awe at what is, as we await what is to come. 

Photo by Guillaume Meurice on

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