For much of the last year, the doll has been telling me how much she hates her smile. “What are you talking about?” I reply each time with incredulity. “Mom, my big teeth up front are too big and the rest of my teeth don’t fit into my mouth right. Let’s face it, I look goofy!” “Only to you doll”. I’ve said even though she doesn’t believe me.
Being her mom, I told her one day was going to prove her wrong by creating a calendar called “The Many Faces of My Doll” and have been gathering photographic evidence ever since. She has a very expressive face and whether she believes it or not, a beautiful smile.
But I understand where she’s coming from. Mainstream and social media is filled with body shaming examples that twist truths and spread lies, especially to the teenage crowd. Last night she said, “I keep flip flopping on whether or not I like my smile. Some days I do, but most days…” “You know, I’ve never lied to you. Believe me when I tell you your smile is beautiful”. I said trying to encourage her. “Yes, you have,” She replied. “Have what?” I asked. “You’ve lied to be before”. “I have?” I asked trying not to laugh at being caught in a lie. “Easter Bunny, hello? Santa Claus? Uh, Mom, you lie to me all the time”. Waving a hand in front of my face I replied “Well, not on the really important stuff.” I tried. “How is lying about Santa Claus not important?”
“I’m just kidding with you, mom. I know it’s just one of my hang-ups.”
Yesterday her smile began the first step to becoming even more beautiful and while she was all giggles shortly after we left the orthodontist, last night she sought comfort in my arms–which I gladly supplied. “Mom, I’m over this already. It’s not fair this hurts so much”. “Two to three days and then you’ll get used to them,” I hoped. “Seriously?” She whined. “Baby, no pain, no gain. If it’s any consolation, I wore a retainer for three years, then full braces for four years and then had another retainer for four years afterward. You’re looking at two years tops.” I explained. “This is just stupid!” She replied. “You would think after all those many years they would have come up with a less painful way to correct someone’s teeth”.
“Yeah but soon you’ll have a smile you love…” I offered. Still pulled into a hug, she nodded her head against my chest and said, “I know. I just wish there was an easier way”. “I know baby” I replied and then relished our hug until she released and went to bed, with her still beautiful smile.