Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Power of Words

My children were born with impressive overbites. When my oldest arrived, the doctor said, “It’s a boy, and man will he need braces.” OK, those might not have been his exact words, but that’s how I remember them. Similar words greeted the births of my other children. Actually, I think orthodontists were waiting outside the door, contracts in hand.

Many dollars later, after palate widening, jaw lengthening, various stages of braces and more to come, we’re trying to decide who won’t go to college.

My kids have been stellar through every painful process, learning to talk around devices that barely fit in their mouths. They’ve handled it far better than I. I never needed orthodontic work, so it frightens me. And let’s face it, these are my babies, I hate seeing them suffer.

However, my oldest son reminded me yesterday that there are varying degrees of suffering. Some worth every uncomfortable minute. He was referring to life before orthodontia, to the teasing and name calling each of my children endured…rabbit teeth, bucktooth beaver, chomper, tree biter… The memories still bring tears to my eyes.

But my kids laugh about it now…near-perfect teeth wreathed in beautiful smiles. I’m glad they can laugh, glad they smile at everyone they meet. Don't worry, we've discussed stranger danger.

I think of other children though, who aren’t status quo for one reason or another. I remember kids in high school who suffered years of teasing…heads down, trying to appear invisible. I hope they’re now adults who learned to believe in themselves…

It’s important to say positive things to our children, teaching them not to hurt others with their words. Kids are often our mirror images…something to think about when we’re stunned by their actions…

My coffee cup is dry, my thoughts at rest and a beautiful day is calling...enjoy :)

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