When I was a child in upstate New York, my parents and I had occasional ice cube wars, waging battles up and down our hallway. We tossed ice cubes down each other’s backs, laughing wildly. It would end when we were winded, grinning ear-to-ear and out of ice. I don’t know the genesis of these periodic wars, but I suspect they only occurred during hot summer days as our home lacked air-conditioning.
I remember my father smiling at another event about this time – in relief. I had been sent to an orthodontist to determine whether I needed braces or not. The issue was that my upper right lateral incisor tucked behind my upper right central incisor just a bit, so the conclusion was reached that braces (and thousands of dollars) were not needed. Thus the source of my father’s smile. I still notice the misalignment, but probably no one else does.
Just over a year ago I could not imagine smiling again, but I do.
I have a strip of photographs that line a side of my refrigerator – in every one there are smiles. It began as a suggestion from a stepdaughter about recognizing my ability to smile again even without her father by my side. The first is a photo of me smiling with the other stepdaughter and her husband before summer’s end. Quickly the side filled up, with the top photo taken in late December alongside a college friend. It brings me pleasure every morning to see these photos of me smiling with friends and family. Most of the time it gets me into an “I got this” mode for the day.
Rick loved my wide smiles, and of course I loved his grins. I still chafe at the memory, however, of meeting his good friend and former dentist for the first time. Rick did not think well of my then-dentist and had me open my mouth wide so his friend could inspect my teeth. I felt like a horse!
Fortunately I have a good dentist now, who will be replacing a cracked crown soon. In its omniscience, Facebook this week offered up a tee-shirt for sale that reads,
My Dentist says I need a crown. I was like, I know, right?
but that seemed a bit arrogant for someone without any royal lineage in her family tree – and besides, I won’t need a crown for much longer.
Ending this post with a smile . . . .