Tag Archives: braces

Learning to Let Go

22 Jul

My cell phone chirped shrilly, startling me.  It was another text message from my daughter who is spending her summer in the Berkshires studying Chinese.  Each night we text each other:

Her: Watcha doin?  (Not for the first time I wonder whether we are raising a generation of poor spellers).

Me: Watchin the closer.  (One of my favorite TV shows.  I love how everyone always underestimates the petite blonde police chief with the cute Southern accent).

Her: Cant wait 2 watch it my braces hav been bothering me (it’s not just the spelling but the punctuation too).

Uh oh.  Disquiet gripped me and I grabbed my landline to call her.  The connection was muddy and I imagined the wireless phone company man from the TV commercial asking me, “Can you hear me now?”

“No!” I yelled back at him, “I can’t hear you!”

“Mom, the connection is bad.”  My daughter stated the obvious; even across the distance she could sense my mounting anxiety.

One of the wires in her braces had been poking into her cheek, drawing blood and causing pain.  Normally when this happens, I take her to our orthodontist and he fixes the wire.  Bah-da-bing, bah-da-boom, we’re in and out in five minutes.  But with her being three hours away…

“I forgot to pack my wax.”

Of course she would forget to pack wax.  Ok, no point in chastising her about this now.  My mind raced through the options.  I briefly contemplated driving up there and bringing her back down, two round trip journeys totaling twelve hours, just for a five-minute appointment.  Well, I’ll do it if I have to, I thought.

Finally we agreed that I would call our orthodontist and she would tell her RA about her problem.  Between us we should be able to come up with a solution, I assured her, sounding more optimistic than I felt.  Needless to say, restful sleep eluded me that night.

The next day I waited impatiently as the orthodontist flipped through his American Association of Orthodontist directory to give me names and numbers of local practitioners.  Armed with a few names, I called each one, explaining my situation and almost pleading for them to see her.  Two of them were on vacation and the other two refused to see other people’s patients.  One receptionist even suggested that my daughter take a sterilized nail clipper and cut the wire herself.  I was too agitated to be properly horrified at this.

In the end, one assistant referred me to a local pediatric dental practice that was willing to see her.  In relief I offered up a prayer of thanks to God.  All that remained to do was to call the language program and arrange for someone to take her there, which I promptly did.  I then ran around looking for her wax to mail it to her.


When do we stop worrying about our children?  Never, says my mother.  It occurs to me that this incident is a lesson in letting go.  It’s a new experience and not a comfortable one either.

Fortunately, after seeing the dentist, my daughter said she felt better.  They had given her some wax and a rinse.  Too bad they couldn’t give me something to take away the worry!

Scotch and soda, anyone?

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