I was in the orthodontist's waiting room, thinking... Eighteen months? Do I really want these on for eighteen months? The Today show was on the television and I half listened to President Obama talk about the swine flu. yeah, yeah, yeah... the CDC and the WHO don't know what the hell is going on yet...
The women behind the front desk were coiffed and smelled good. Their voices dripped with the sweetness of saccharin as they spoke to one another. Look. At. You! I don't think I've EVER seen you in pink before... Gosh, you look pretty today! When one woman would turn her focus back to a computer screen or files on a desk, the others would take in every detail of her appearance. They all took turns participating in the covert operation of sizing each other up. I stared at their teeth.
I got braces on my teeth last week. Not Invisalign, but the old fashioned, silver, train track braces. They're only on my top teeth with plans to add them to my bottom teeth in a month or two. I've never had braces, nor have my kids, so this is a new experience for me.
I told Mother I had made the decision to get braces a few weeks ago...
Mom: What's wrong with your teeth?!
Mom: Well... so much for saving money. I thought you kids were trying to save money.
Me: We have extra money this year in our tax-free medical spending account, Mom. If we don't use it, we lose it, so I've figured out a moderate and responsible plan to contribute to the braces without draining the account in case we have an emergency.
Mom: I still don't see what's wrong with your teeth...
Several of my friends have had braces and a few are wearing permanent retainers. I've had plenty of people to call upon for encouragement, support and to answer my questions. I'm comfortable with my decision and after nearly one week, I have no regrets. Only 77 more weeks to go!
A friend asked me how my mouth was feeling. The braces had only been on a couple of days. I told her it was like my first training bra...
When I was in the fifth grade I wanted a bra so badly. I didn't need a bra. At all. Many of the popular girls were wearing them, so I believed I needed one too. Mom took me shopping and we bought a training bra. I loved how when I bent over to reach for something, the back straps were very visible. I felt like a 35-year-old. It was awesome!
I didn't wear the bra all the time, just when I wanted to look 35, like when I went to the skating rink on Saturday afternoons to skate. Boys were there. Lip gloss? Check. Pom-poms for skates? Check. Training bra? Check. Tight, satiny shirt so bra strap would be visible when I flexed my back? Check.
Mom and I were going shopping one afternoon. It was a big deal for the two of us to have a shopping day. We had to drive from our small town, Winchester, to Muncie [Indiana] so we could shop at a real mall. We usually dressed up and ate lunch in a restaurant. I decided to wear the training bra.
Mom: Chrisy, if you're going to wear the training bra, you need to wear it... all day.
Me: I will, Mom.
As much as I liked having visible bra straps under my shirt, the training bra irritated me after about an hour. If I was with Mother, she found a bathroom so I could remove the bra and she would carry it in her purse.
After an hour of shopping on this particular day, I couldn't take it anymore.
Me: Mom, will you carry my training bra? It's hurting me.
Mom: Chrisy! C'mon, you're fine.
Me: I can't, Mom. It's tight and rubs my skin funny.
Mom: Take it off, but carry it in your own purse.
Me: My purse is too small...
Mom: Maybe from now on you shouldn't wear it when we leave the house. [Crushing, because that was the whole point, for THE WORLD to see that I was old enough for and possibly needed a bra.]
She took the bra and I don't think I wore it again for at least a year, maybe two.
The braces? Not uncomfortable at all for the first day. Now? My mouth is irritated, my teeth hurt, and I'd like my mother to carry them in her purse... for just a few hours.
Image of Darla from "Finding Nemo" courtesy of Google Images.