Hayden got braces on her teeth today.
She was supposed to get them almost two years ago, when she was in the seventh grade, and all the world was getting braces, and we had our original consultation with the orthodontist. That was the morning when we discovered that our dental insurance, though rather good, is actually not that good, and is, in fact, quite lacking, and doesn't cover orthodontic, and we would be on the hook for the entire six grand and change. Including an immediate, much heftier than we anticipated, down payment. That was a heartbreaking morning.
So, after we finished cursing our insurance company, and turned ourselves back around to a position of thankful that we have insurance at all, we began to save the down payment to put braces on our child's teeth. And, like every home owning, car owning, furnace owning, bill paying, daily grind, American family, we saved, and saved, and spent, and saved, and ran into unexpected expenses along the way that ate up the Braces Fund until one day, almost two years later, the clouds cleared, and my mother-in-law called to say she was sending us the down payment. Out of the blue.
It took us about thirty-five seconds of intense consideration before we cashed that check.
So, this morning, at the height of the storm, on a snow day from school, we returned to the orthodontist office to see how much of our original consultation remained in tact, and how much had changed in the time elapsed. I held my breath, worried six grand had turned into seven or eight, and that the down payment my mother-in-law sent wouldn't matter because we wouldn't be able to swing the monthly payments. But the numbers held up, or basically held up, and (bonus!) because of the storm, the office was experiencing cancellations, and had the time to put the braces on immediately. Since she has the next five days off from school for President's Day, we felt this was ideal, and took them up on that offer.
For one thing, she is no longer in seventh grade; she is a freshman now, she's fourteen, and she is not excited about getting braces on her teeth at this point in her life. She thought she'd settle for Invisiline, which we, her parents, vetoed because of the high possibility of losing or damaging them, and, ultimately, the longer treatment plan they involved. She wasn't happy with us about that, but she was relieved when we agreed that she could have the clear braces.
For another, the RIGHT THIS MINUTE application of them was a little startling for her. None of us expected for her to come away with braces this afternoon. She burst into tears upon looking in the mirror for the first time, and refused even to show them to us for the first hour.
She wants Olive Garden for dinner so that's what we are going to have. She doesn't seem to be in any physical pain, though the rubber band bothers the inside of her cheek. She's teary one minute and better the next; filled with teen angst, feeling like they make her the ugliest beast on the planet, and refusing to accept any words of comfort to the contrary. She says she won't smile for the next eighteen months, but she already has; I don't dare point that out to her.
She'll adjust; she already is. And, when she does, she is going to have a killer smile.