Yes, that's right. Today is Saturday and it's been five days since my 13 year-old got her braces put on. I feel we've started a new right-of-passage.
"Moderate Space Management Issues"
That is the technical term for too many teeth, not enough room. So the braces have gone on. Generally though, I think her problems are pretty common and should be dealt with quite easily (in 18-24 months for a cost of half a good second-hand car), except for one 12 year molar that has "gone awry" and that's another story altogether.
And, as much as we tried to be prepared and anticipate/dread the new experience, we/she/me weren't exactly ready for the first couple of days of PAIN. I went through a series of retainers when I was a kid/teenager and I know about mouth/teeth pain, but I think this is much worse. Oh the swollen lips - just a sad, sad sight. The appetite has finally come back but not enough to actually chew a whole lot. It'll come, I know. The bonus is that the braces are purple and match her glasses and Ipod case, so if you have to have a mouth full of metal, at least be colour-coordinated with the rest of your look.
I, of course, being the mother of only one child, see this time in our lives a bit more sadly than painfully.
She is 13. I won't see her teeth again until she is 15. That is hard. When they come off, she will be a real teenager and contacts won't be far behind I'm sure. This year's school picture is beautiful and I especially like it because it is the last picture with her teeth all her own, as nature placed them. Eventually they'll be beautifully straight and lined up, but they will have been forced to move (for her own health I know).
I know I tend to be a bit dramatic. But I never planned on only having one child. So every "event" that comes along, I try to squeeze every last drop out of (the good, the bad and the ugly) because I won't have the opportunity to do it again. I try to see it from all angles so I don't miss anything. Everything is a one-shot deal. The hardest part is not being able to do it better/more relaxed the second time around, with the first as the practice time, since there is no second time. I can't practice what I've learned on the next kid. Everything is always happening to me, the Mom, the first time too, and no one gets any benefits of experience.
All that was the wave that past over me a couple of nights ago in between doses of tylonel and yogurt/applesauce/chocolate pudding. You just can't beat chocolate pudding.
I'm OK now. I just feel I spend most of my time at the end of a dock waving good-bye to someone heading out towards the horizon. "We had a lovely time but when will I see you again?" Never really. Always she is growing into the person she is and will be. A miracle to witness and be a part of. I'm loving every second, but I'm feeling that good parenting is a bit bitter-sweet. A child is to grow and evolve and mature and that is good. It's just hard when you miss who they were as well because you really liked them then too.