Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You'll Thank Me Later

Orthodontist day, yuck! Not everyone detests orthodontist day, there are some fortunate souls who have miracle dental coverage which includes orthodontics. Ours does not. I'm not sure that even if our plan did cover bracing that I would enjoy the appointments. It always ends in a fit of tears and tantrums. Yes, as you may have already guessed our victim is 13 year old KJ. We've been struggling with a headgear appliance for 1 year now in a process that was to take 4 to 7 months. Clearly getting KJ to wear the appliance is a lot like pulling teeth (pun definitely intended) She's suppose to log 14 hours a day, we manage 7 on a really good one, if I get up in the middle of the night and help her reinstall it. I get it, I hated wearing one too when I was her age. That makes me wonder about orthodontic advancements. Surely in 30 some-odd years this contraption should have been replaced by a more user friendly, parent friendly devise.

Regardless, I pulled orthodontist duty today, rearranged my schedule, worked from home and gritted my teeth for the inevitable. This is part A of why I hate orthodontist day. It's a little like being called into the principals office. She measures and sighs and begins scolding. Not my obstinate child. ME! "How many hours are we getting?"...."she needs to wear it more." .... "You have to make her." That's my favorite "you have to make her" No parent on the face of this earth makes a hormonal 13 year old girl do anything. Is this woman for real? I've discovered that her daughter is 10 or 11, which explains a lot. All the same I smile politely with our newly adjusted headgear and a vow to do our best.

Our best lasts 15 minutes. This is where part B of why I hate orthodontist day begins. The adjustments cause KJ some pressure and discomfort. The orthodontist guilt trip causes me some pressure and discomfort. A perfect storm. Tonight’s storm ended in one headgear being hurled across the room, 2 door slams, a "conversation" only slightly lower on the decibel scale than a Bon Jovi concert and one glass of red wine.

Michael came home to find me pouring the glass. I don't drink wine during the week.
"Good day at the orthodontist?" he inquires sarcastically. He's taken a hit or too of his own on the front he knows from where I pour.
"Yup." is the reply I can manage.
"You're doing great, she’ll thank us later." He says.

I mull that over as Michael goes upstairs to shower off a day of work. I'm still mulling when he reenters the kitchen
"Black or beige?' he asks standing proudly in his dress pants and undershirt.
"Black or beige, for what?" I ask.
"For Dinner."
I'm staring dumfounded "We're dressing for dinner now?" I ask, thinking that this is one of his creative parenting tricks. He has an insane ability to approach challenges from some northwest direction and make things right with the world.
"No, we are going to diner remember?"
Clearly I don't. Then I look at the snap shot in my head of our family calendar. Nov 23...KJ orthodontist...Mom & Dad sports assoc volunteer appreciation diner. Damm. I look at the clock 30 minutes. I look at myself; I worked at home today, comfy pants and bed head are not going to cut it. Double damm.

Now I'm angry with a daughter, an orthodontist and a husband, on my way upstairs to speed shower and dress which will most inevitable end with bad hair and a run in my stockings. (I should have filled my glass again.)

By some miracle we arrived on time and in half decent humor. Diner is lovely, the wine is lovely. The guest speaker is interesting. The head coach for a university football team which has been suspended from play for a full year because of illicit enhancement drug abuse among a small selection of its roster. I'm listening to him speak about how he blamed himself, how others held him responsible. I listen as he discusses how getting  kids who enrolled under the football program through a year without a single football game is the hardest challenge he's faced in his coaching career. He speaks about sharing the issue with other teams, coaches and athletic support staff. He talks about appreciation and how so much of what volunteers and coaches do goes unrecognized and he assures us all that at some point "they will thank you later." a parent, an athlete, a member of the board. Not all of them but at some point one person from the sea of beneficiaries will.

I listen with compassion. If this man can keep a stiff upper lip, face the tantrums and ugly words of the press, the public and even some players, then surely, I can weather an orthodontist an archaic appliance and a 13 year old daughter.

I'm grateful for the 'buck up, shot to the shoulder' message I’ve taken from the evening...

Difficult challenges must still be faced, regardless of the discomfort. We must toil through. If there is a reasonable hope of future gratitude, it's the right thing to do.

(and a glass of wine)

Congratulations to Michael for the recognition he received for his dedication to the executive committee and the welfare of our athletes. Proof, that sometimes they do "thank you later."