All I want for Christmas is my five front teeth |

All I want for Christmas is my five front teeth

Jane Stebbins

My daughter has been bugging me for weeks to tell her what I want for Christmas.But I’ve already got so much. And no, I won’t write a column about all the things for which I have to be grateful. I try to remind myself of those things every day as I rev myself into a frenzy worrying about things that are, for the most part, out of control – or at least my control. That doesn’t help my daughter, who has been scouring the stores for something I might need, want, crave or desire.Soap? No; I have enough.A CD? Sure, but I can’t think of an artist.A book? Sure, but I can’t think of an author.I told her I wanted an electric blanket.

“This is Christmas, Mama,” she said. “I want to give you something fun.”But truth be known, all I really want for Christmas is my five front teeth.It’s one of a long list of bad experiences I had this year – good riddance to 2004.Due to a cataclysmic bike accident this summer in which I flew over the handlebars – the Blair Witch Trail has nothing on French Street – I’m missing five front teeth.My dentist has done a great job of putting in fake ones until I heal enough to go under the knife next spring.It’s been a weird experience.Just like that kid in Don Gardner’s 1946 Christmas song, I can’t whistle.For a long time, I had a lisp.

I still have no feeling in my left upper lip.But I’ve got it so much better than some of my other friends.One of them is awaiting a new kidney. He has his credit cards taxed to the max. He’s mentioned the words “bankruptcy” and “moving to Denver” when he talks of his future.And he laughs at his predicament. Laughs.Another friend lost her husband to suicide. The emotions that surround that are multifold. What could we have done to prevent it? Why didn’t we see any signs? Why didn’t he mention it? How could he do this to us? The loss is heavy.Another friend lost her baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I can’t even pretend to imagine the hole in her heart.Another friend has been sick for months with an illness they can’t diagnose. She’s not going to die, but sometimes she looks like it.Yet another friend was in a serious car wreck. After that, I could hardly complain about my car’s engine dying and the cost of replacing it. (Which explains why I was on my bike in the first place.)

When I get depressed about everything that’s happened to me, I think about these friends. I think about the people in Iraq – both Iraqis and American – who live in a state of perpetual turmoil. At least I don’t have to go to work dodging bullets.At least I get to go to work.I’ve got a roof over my head.I’ve got a teenager who actually likes me.And I’ve told her to go ahead and get me a bar of soap, a Widespread CD and the book “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.She can hardly afford the teeth.Jane Stebbins writes a Wednesday column. She can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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