Friday, May 29, 2009

Bracing Myself

I'm thinking about getting braces. I actually have an appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks. I'm rolling the idea around in my head as I roll my tongue over my teeth. My teeth are really okay, but it did get my attention a couple of years ago when my youngest child matter of factly referred to my fangs.

It seems while my attention was elsewhere the last couple of decades (think four active kids and a full time job and marriage), a few teeth continued to rotate. My husband just sees me and doesn't notice the details. Ditto for me as I see myself from the inside out. But children speak the truth and I finally noticed.

Should I get braces? I thought about it, even asking my dentist for a referral to an orthodontist. But then there were college bills to pay, soccer games to cheer, band trips to chaperone, along with the many other activities that are part of being fifty something with parents, children, work and community woven together. Then came a wedding with the brief flit that it would be nice to have straighter teeth for wedding pictures. But the wedding is about the bride and the pictures show the joy and the love, not the physical details of the role players. The wedding came and went and I didn't think about braces again.

My mom, who was not privy to these thoughts, and I were talking this week and she said "I want you to do something for me." I said "okay" without reservation. (That's another advantage of being older. I know if my mom asks me to do something, I generally can and should do it!) "I want you to get braces." "Do I look that bad?" "No, of course not, but you can look better and you should look better. And we probably should have done braces for you when you were young. I still regret that we didn't."

Now I don't think that I should have had braces as a child. I don't know whether I will end up with braces as an adult. But it is liberating to know that as parents we don't have to know what's right every minute, but have a lifetime to watch and notice and help provide what's good for our children. And if we miss something the first time around, well then just try to do it better the next time it comes up.

Thank you Mom.

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