Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Little Red Hen Has Braces

So, did I mention that I have braces? 32 years old and braces. 32 years old, married, with braces. 32 years old, married, 4 kids and braces. 32 years old, married, 4 kids, glasses and braces. Doesn't get much hotter than that, am I right?

I never had braces as a kid, and I never really felt bad about it. Braces weren't nerdy- more of a popular accessory which I could do without. I did pretended the cap to my Kool Aid Burst was a retainer, like most 10 year olds, but that was the extent of my orthodontic fantasies. I did want glasses. Badly. Once I started babysitting and making money, I went to the mall and bought a pair of non-prescription glasses at Claire's. I rocked those frames for an entire summer. They were gold, shiny, and 90's large. When you are looking for an air of sophistication at the age of 12, fake glasses are the way to go. I felt they added just the right touch of je ne sais quoi which is essential the summer before junior high. You understand.

But really, the top of my desire list was a cast, preferably with crutches because really, how cool is that? Sure, a cast provides some exciting attention, and an excuse to carry around a Sharpee, but crutches! You get to launch yourself around the halls at school! I was certain it would be just like playing with the old wooden set of crutches we had at home- flying through the air, landing solidly on my feet. Instantly everyone wants to be your friend, try out your crutches. You are somebody when you're on crutches.

Alas, my broken limb fantasy was not meant to be. I've never had a broken bone. My four-year-old has had a cast, but not me. That is fine though. Some dreams are meant to be left in the innocence of youth. -sigh-

Glasses, on the other hand, came to visit and decided to stay. My senior year of high school I was trying on my friend's glasses in the library, again wanting to feel that air of sophistication, only to put them on and realize I could see the numbers on the bookshelves from across the room! What? Elated, I got my eyes checked and I needed a mild prescription. Oh happy day! I could see trees on the mountains, street signs, scores on the screen at the bowling alley, and I thought they were the most attractive part of my beauty regime. I still love glasses. I love ugly, nerdy glasses. Statement glasses. But, I have branched and I do wear contacts when running, etc.

But the braces! Really? Never in my life did I plan on strapping those babies to my mouth. Then I met this guy, who has straight teeth, and we both liked Harry Potter, so I dated him, and we read Dickens together, and snowshoed together. All of the sudden I was married to this guy with perfectly straight teeth (who still wears his retainer, but the way), and last fall he told me what I was getting for Christmas. Braces. Surprise! Go choose your orthodontist because 2015 is the year, babe!

At first I thought, "Why not?" Then I thought, "Braces cost as much as a trip to Disneyland, and we've been promising a 2015 Disneyland trip for 5 years. No braces." But, husband persisted. I found an orthodontist who is the father of one of the fifth graders I taught a few years back (I taught school for a while), and he was friendly. We upped our dental plan, and on January 7th, I got braces.

People keep asking if my mouth hurts. I tell them it doesn't hurt as much as my pride. Yes, my bite is off. Yes, I can't bite into anything straight on. I'll be eating my candy bars with a fork and knife Seinfeld-style for the next 18 months. And, it takes me 20 minutes to floss and brush my teeth! No joke. But I feel a sense of empowerment because I know my teeth are clean. It is like knowing all the laundry is done and put away. Or washing your face before you go to bed. Or waking up to a clean kitchen. Small things make me feel put together. True, no one is going to sign my braces, and they aren't nearly as fun a glasses, but I'll be glad to have them once they are gone and my teeth are straight. In 2016 I'll be 33, married, have 4 kids, glasses and straight teeth.

LRH lesson learned: You don't really appreciate the effort of planting the seed until you are eating the bread. And in 18 months, I'll be able to eat bread without needing to immediately brush my teeth. Now that is hot.

Bake the bread and share the slices, friends.

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