Thursday, September 6, 2007


I failed in my mom duty. My oldest son got braces put on his teeth today and, to be honest, I never gave it a second thought. Oh, sure, I prayed for him before hand and gave him a little pep talk before he left for the orthodontist with his dad. I prayed for him while he was gone. When he returned, I smiled weakly and asked how it went. I wasn't prepared for the day that followed. He went right into my arms and cried. He didn't sob, just a sad, silent cry. I think he would have sobbed if he wasn't 12. My heart ached for him. I really didn't know how to help. Pain relievers helped a bit with the aching teeth. But I wasn't ready for the psychological issues. He is really, really bummed at how his life has changed so much. Even telling him it's only for two years and when he's done, he'll have an even nicer smile - knowing this didn't help. His heart and mind needed relief today. He said he's upset that he can't take his braces off like he can his glasses. I'll bet he feels kind of caged - I can understand that. Sigh. He got glasses for the first time about 2 months ago. And his voice started changing last month. Now braces. The poor guy. Growing up is tough and everyone goes through it and usually survives well enough. But he is a child of routine. Routine makes his world orderly, though he is rather careless and not a detail-oriented individual, at least in the world around him. He counts on certain things always being the same. I'm afraid I'm the one to start that scenario. But doesn't everyone do that? I guess change is more difficult for some kids (people) than it is for others. He cried when he realized there were certain foods he may not be able to eat. I said that we'll have to see, we just don't know. He's worried he won't be able to play his euphonium (that's like a small tuba). We kept telling him his teeth would feel better tomorrow. By tonight, he was doing a bit better. He spent most of the day playing solitaire on the computer - a privilege given only because of his present condition. I did take him to the beach where there was a classic car show going on (he loves cars at the moment). So I did good there. We enjoyed spending time together, just the two of us.

Things were going much better by bed time until naive mom had to help him brush and floss his teeth. You see, I wasn't at the dentist where they discussed how to do this with braces. I hadn't read the brochure and hadn't yet seen all the stuff they sent home with him. I wasn't prepared. I never had braces and never watched my sister take care of hers (ewww!) So I fumbled around with the flossing after watching him doing it incorrectly (at least I could see the floss wasn't going where it should.) And the he just gave up and cried. More sadness. It breaks my heart!! I HATE the fact that we can't make everything all right. I hate it! I'm one of those moms who has an overwhelming need to shelter my kids from everything - but I can't and don't. I try to let them deal with issues as I think they are ready. I'm totally honest with them about things. No sugar coating. But I do remind them that God is always with them, all they have to do is talk to Him. I pray for and with my kids every day. This world is a beast. Look for the beauty and the blessings. But remember that all is not going to be perfect. That's basically my philosophy. I remember, back when I was 21, a co-worker once said that it is more normal for us to have pain somewhere on our body than to be pain-free. She was right. And she was only 24 at the time.

I am raising sensitive kids. I am sensitive. Since they are with me all day, they can't help but pick up on that. If I bump into a chair or something (which happens often) one or more of the kids will say, "Awww" and I'll get a hug or kiss to make it better. What a blessing. I'm glad they are sensitive but I also have to work on a bit of toughening up. Then again, maybe I don't. Life does that well enough on its own.


Gayle said...

I don't know why, but I almost wanted to cry over this post. Maybe because I have a 12 year old tender hearted son too. Maybe becuase there is just something heart breaking when our almost-men (or full grown men) start to cry. Or maybe because I had the same stinkin' braces for 3 long years of my life. Or it could be PMS, that's always a good reason, right? You did a good job, mom! It speaks volumes that he still goes to you for comfort.

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

It must be tough for him to deal with this all at once. Adolescence is no fun. I remember it stinking too. My prayers and best wishes are with him!

Mama Self said...

You would think that we would get used to change and be able to pass on such incredible wisdom about it that our chldren would instantly feel better and... Well, life is full of growing pains, and as moms we hurt for our children, too. That's OK, but I usually coddled so much that my husband would have to jump in and tell my sensitive son, "Suck it up, buttercup!" I would whince and try not to cry, but then I'd notice that my son COULD and DID rise to the challenge of dealing with pain. Though I originally thought Lee was being heartless, he later confided that our son must be able to know how to handle pain with confidence, which would bring a better comfort than my words. Then we determined to try to help him have self-control, talk about pain, talk about ways to handle varried types of pain, etc.

I'm not saying that you should have done anything differently! Your story just reminded me again of how hard it is to determine the best response toward our children when they are in pain and how to teach them to look for the Lord and glorify Him in all situations.

Parenting is HARD. God bless your kindness with your children.

Leingangs said...


I am so sorry. It does break your heart when your kids have to go through "life". We do want to shelter them and that, I believe, is a good thing (within reason).

Andy is 12 and it seems to be hard to be a 12 year old boy. It is such a time of change for them. It was hard for Zack and now Andy is going through it, too. If there was any way I could keep Will from it, I would. But the best I can do is pray for them and be there when they need Mom. And I am thankful that they don't have to go through this at school!

Mama Self said...

Thanks for your comment. I saw that you had been on my friend's blog not too long ago (darrensgirl). I haven't been able to keep up with other folks as well as I'd like, but I'm trying to check on folks again.

Glad to hear your son is feeling better. The first few days are the hardest. My oldest son had to have the twice! And, yes, he's still blogging, but only once every few weeks. He gets caught up in so many other things. :)

I hope school goes well for you all... the banana bread will surely help! Oh, and thanks for praying! Have a wonderful week!