My ten year old daughter B got braces almost two weeks ago. J and I both had braces when we were young, so it wasn't a shock to find out we had a daughter who needed to see an orthodontist. J went on to have jaw surgery after years and year of braces, so we're hoping early intervention can spare B surgery down the road. In addition to braces on her top teeth, she has a palate expander. Along with the expander came a key for me to use to tighten it each night. I was NOT thrilled about this. I'd heard horror stories about friends sobbing as their parents turned their device nightly. With great trepidation, I learned how to insert and turn the key, wondering whether I could bear to hurt her every night. This has turned out to not be a big problem, since B either has a high tolerance for pain or orthodontia has improved a bit over the last two decades (I'm guessing a bit of both).
The best part about B getting braces? She's thrilled - thinks they're the coolest thing ever, has wanted to show friends and family in person rather than tell them ahead of time. I attribute this stellar attitude, in part, to her age. I had braces from 6th grade to 8th grade - roughly ages 12 to 14. Is there a more awkward age than this, even without metal in your mouth? I think not. But ten year olds are young enough to not really care what others think, to still want to stand out from the crowd a bit. And ten year old peers mostly haven't sharpened their claws to attack those who dare to be different.
B especially enjoyed one day last week when she had on a turquoise shirt that matched her rubber bands nearly exactly. Several people remarked on how well she matched and it just delighted her.
B can be difficult. She's strong in ways I'm not. She's bold. She's confident. She knows herself. She's going to make a great adult, but can be a challenging kid to parent or befriend. Today I'm thankful for all these traits of hers that sometimes make me wonder why on earth God thought I was capable of parenting her. I'm thankful her strength makes her grin excitedly to show off her braces, instead of hiding her mouth behind her hand, a smirk or anything else. Today, I'm able to be thankful she's exactly who she is, braces and all.
|Pre-braces. Isn't she lovely?|