Today, as Claire and I were standing in the middle of the kitchen, she was holding the key to her expander and asking me who was going to turn it for her when we leave for Ireland. I told her that one of the boys could do it, or her grandparents. I went on to say “When your gap gets big enough, like mine was, you’ll be able to turn it yourself. I did and it was easy.” The look on her face was beyond horrified and her eyes immediately welled up with tears. “You mean, I am going to get a gap like you had?”
Her tears were starting to come as I felt the laughter rising in my chest. “Of COURSE, you are going to get a gap…that’s what an expander does. It expands your mouth so you have more room for your teeth.” Then her tears burst forth and she wailed “I don’t want to have a gap like you did!!”
I could barely contain my laughter, but at the same time I really wanted to bang my head against a brick wall as I was slurping down a glass of something alcoholic (does that make me an alcoholic?? I sure hope not, but even if it does, I don’t care….I really wanted something to drink!). Here, I flash back on my months and months of looking like something plucked off of the cover of “Hillbilly Weekly” or a Hockey Mom run amok and Claire is worried about a little gap! My patience knows bounds and this was it! I’m an adult, for heaven’s sake and I made it through the humiliation of the months with the gap. I suffered through, and made it to the other side.
Claire said she didn’t remember the boys ever having gaps. “I’m sure they did,” I assured her. But I know for a fact that they never cried at the mere thought of having said gap. And while I was mortified at the ever widening gap in my own mouth, I still had to greet the world each morning and face the world with my wicked, gap toothed smile. There were moments where I tried hard to cover my mouth and didn’t want anyone to see what was going on in mouth but for the most part I just had to own it…own the gap.
As I tried hard to rein in my laughter, I told Claire this is the time in her life when she’s gonna have to learn to laugh at herself or she will spend the next 20 months hiding in the house, in tears. And by that time I truly will be an alcoholic because my patience will be long gone trying to console a girl who sometimes drives me to really want a drink! But I did reassure her that if it’s really that bad we’ll get her a third front tooth like I got to cover up the 1/2 inch gap in the front of my mouth. Then she’ll look really special…three front teeth standing next to her mama who has a perpetual drink in her hand!
Oh, for the love of my children….