Last December, Anika and I set off on a little orthodontic adventure together.
I’ve been grinding my teeth and experiencing jaw and neck problems for 17 years. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on pain management over the years, so when I was told braces were the only remaining option, I decided to take the plunge. It was not an easy decision – I’m nearing 40, and it seemed a little late for braces. I didn’t want to go through the pain, hassle, and expense. Besides, my teeth didn’t look that bad, and Ben is perfectly happy with my appearance, so why bother changing anything?
There was a very clear turning point in my decision-making process. Dr. McFarlane (whom we love, and if you ever need an orthodontist in Winnipeg, you should definitely see him!) told me about an 80-year-old woman who had just finished her process with braces, because she couldn’t get dentures until her jaw was fixed. I remember thinking, “If I have to get braces, I would rather do it now than when I’m 80!” Along with that, Ben thought that if I could live with less pain, the cost of braces would be covered by the money we would save on pain management.
Being a loving, generous mother, I passed on my jaw problems to Anika. Although it’s a financially challenge to have both of us in braces at the same time, it gives me great joy to know we’re saving her from all the years of pain that I’ve had to put up with.
So we’ve had the bonding experience of getting our braces tightened together, and that part’s been fun. During the times when we’ve been in a lot of pain, and she’s come to me for comfort, I’ve found it hard to fully be there for her when I’ve got my own pain to deal with, and the comfort is in short supply, but other than that, it’s been a really positive experience.
What has surprised me is how often people who comment on my braces will say things like, “I’ve been wanting to get my teeth fixed for years, but I don’t know if I’ll actually do anything about it….” And then they have a bunch of questions, which I’m happy to answer, because I’m becoming kind of passionate about this: If there’s something you want to do, you should do it. Don’t say it’s too late. Deal with tight finances for awhile to make it happen. Put in the time and effort. Because when you’re eighty, you might really, really wish you had done it.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to fulfill our dreams, and I get that. I have my own share of unfulfilled dreams, but I’m trusting God to restore what’s been lost. There will be other dreams, and it will all be good. But if it’s in my power to go after something I want, and there’s peace about pursuing it when I pray about it, I want to do it.
And so we are immersed in the wonderful world of dental wax and trying to get food out of our braces whenever we eat and doing the good work for the long-term.
Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do for years, but something’s holding you back? Anything you think is too late to pursue?