When I was 9 yrs. old I went to live with my mom. My mom always hated my teeth. As soon as I lost those cute, straight, tiny, little baby teeth, what I like to refer to as 'The Big Ugly's' came in. My mother (the loving woman that she is) would look at me and say "Ugh, those teeth, you know you got those from your Uncle Tom!" My Uncle Tom is my dad's brother and after my mom & dad's divorce it was no secret that ANYTHING associated with my 'Father' (as she liked to refer to him... "Your Father!" she'd say with a venomous tone.) was either terrible, awful, disgusting or downright hated, my teeth were no exception.So at 9 yrs. old, when I went to live with my mom (because life with the new step-mother was unbearable) the first thing my mother did was take me to an orthodontist. I'd like to interject into my tale a moment here and ask if any of you, ever wished they could have braces and put a band of foil across your top teeth while hanging out with your friends who also wanted braces. Together you and your friends would grin at each other with big foil grins and say, "My mom says I'm going to need braces." as though it were something to be proud of. Though for the life of me I can't imagine putting foild on my teeth today. Just the thought of foil in my mouth gives me the same shivers of repulsion, nails on a chalkboard induce. Anyway, back to my story...I was THRILLED with the idea of getting braces until about 10 minutes after I had them on. Because they were painful, they didn't make me look grown up AND I had to wear a head-gear each night. As a stomach sleeper, this was complete torture! I remember ALWAYS getting yelled at by my mom for not wearing that blasted headgear. However, in the end it really didn't matter because two things happened.
So the upshot is that I never went back to the orthodontist. Problem with that, I still had braces on my teeth and some of my baby teeth were still falling out and getting hung up on the braces and well, to put it mildly, it was just a mess. I went for 2 years with my mouth changing and my braces getting more and more embedded in my gums. Finally, one day my step-mother took me to a free clinic and I had the torturous metal in my mouth cut away and pulled out of my swolen bleeding gums. Yay me! So ya, all that torture and my teeth still looked like... well, like Uncle Tom's.Years passed and in 1984 I went to work for dental x-ray lab. We used to work up x-rays and ortho packets for orthodontists all over the Los Angeles area. When I'd worked my way up to Office Manager, the technician I worked with convinced me I should get braces because I could get a great deal through one of the orthodontists we worked with. I saw the ortho and he recommended I have my wisdom teeth pulled before he'd put braces on me. Now I won't go into the horrors of having my wisdom teeth pulled in this post because my son is having his removed in 2 1/2 weeks and it just wouldn't be right to freak him out like that... So let's just say, having my wisdom teeth pulled? I'd rather give birth than go through THAT pain again.Not long after I had my teeth pulled, my husband convinced me to leave the glorious field of dental x-ray and get a job at the company he worked for. With dollar signs in my eyes, I followed him blindly into the aerospace industry. This job change however, put quite a crimp in the whole orthodontia plan so I bagged the whole idea, making the excuse that it was now too great a distance from my new job. Fact of the matter was, I was scared shitless to go through that kind of pain again.SO, fast forward to about a month ago. My daughter had an appointment with the orthodontist and I was sitting in the waiting room as she got worked on and the thought occurred to me, I've put both my kids through the torture of braces and they've both weathered it well. Sure my daughter feels some discomfort after an adjustment but she manages. Hell, I've had a breast reduction AND a hysterectomy, surely getting braces can't be any worse than that? Can it? Well, CAN IT?So what I'm trying to say is, tomorrow at 9:45am I'll be having my braces put on. Sure, I'll be that totally goofy 45 yr. old ortho patient. People will look at me like I have a third eye,, they'll point and call me 'Ugly Betty' behind my back.... BUT DAMMIT, 20 months from now I'm gonna finally have straight teeth and I'm gonna smile until it hurts!It's all part of my new campaign, 'Building a better ME'
- My step-dad got transferred to Chicago. I didn't want to live in Chicago. I didn't want to live 2500 miles away from my dad. I'd deal with the step-mother if I had to just please don't make me move to Chicago and be sent off to boarding school (that's what happened to my step-sisters.)
- After a bitter court battle I got my wish and went back to live with my dad. However, my mom decided that if I were going to live with my 'Father' then HE could pay for the orthodontia. Trouble is, dad had barely enough to take me to a dentist, let alone an orthodontist and my mother was well aware of that. I think she saw it as a fitting punishment for not moving cross country with her.
Labels: Angst, Building a better ME, Memories, Resolutions