Boy smiles with bracesMy eighth grader got braces today.

I got braces in eighth grade, too. I remember spending a long time with the orthodontist with his hands in my mouth, tugging and yanking. When I went home with my mouth full of metal, it felt like he had installed a set of doll knives in my mouth, slicing up my tongue and the tender flesh inside my cheeks.

I couldn’t eat real food for weeks.

The technician took about twenty minutes to install my son’s braces. She used a light to cure the adhesive, and his brackets sit on the surface of his teeth instead of wrapping around each tooth like mine did. He kept borrowing my phone so he could look at himself. “It feels so weird!” he told me with a smile.

I was worried as I dropped him off at school. I made sure he had wax to press on any poking metal pieces and made him promise to call me if the pain got too bad so I could bring him Tylenol.

But he came home with a smile. “It wasn’t too bad,” he told me. “But I need to cut my pieces of apple smaller. Those were just impossible to eat.”

So maybe I needn’t have planned a week’s worth of soups. But I’m sure he won’t turn down the smoothies and servings of ice cream I’m planning.

And it will make me feel better.

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