Celebrating the milestones of childhood and appreciating every stage has been a big part of my life with my little bean. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every stage with her. From meeting her birth mom for the first time, being there when she was born, seeing her through some scary times when she was a newborn, to watching her become her own little person, thrive, and overcome every challenge she faced, she has been a joy. The teen years are no exception. Although I am struggling with her newfound independence and her not needing me in the ways she used to need me, I am enjoying watching her grow into a capable, driven, self-motivated, kind, caring, independent young adult.
Yesterday was a big day for my bean. After two years of orthodontics, she finally got her braces off. I believe I was more excited than she was. Having braces and now having them removed seems like a right of passage. It is one more step towards growth, advancement, and adulthood. I could not be more impressed with her smile, the care she takes with her teeth, and her beauty. My bean, being the perfectionist she is, focused on what she didn’t like about her smile. She is displeased with the whiteness of her teeth. I, on the other hand, only see perfection. Her teeth are in perfect alignment and her smile, which has always been spectacular, is now stunning.
We have to make an appointment with her regular dentist to clean and polish her teeth. I’m sure this will improve the color and help her achieve the whiteness she desires. However, we will discuss her options for bleaching to help her achieve the smile she wants. I’m hesitant to bleach her teeth without the approval of her dentist. She is awfully young to begin this process. However, after years of insecurities regarding my teeth and my smile, I understand and can relate to her self-consciousness.
Having her braces removed feels like one of the final milestones of childhood. I have mixed feelings surrounding this. It does not escape me that she is growing into a young adult in her interests, attitudes, and appearance. The Bibbed Wonder’s first comment when he saw her with her new smile was, “Geez; you look like your 22! Stop it!” His reaction prompted her to giggle and swagger just a little bit. When she returned from school, I asked if anyone noticed she had her braces removed. She laughed and said, “Raylee told me my teeth are perfect, and she said I don’t look like I’m ten anymore!” Sigh. Why does this make her so happy and make me so sad?
As a mom, I think I’m pretty chill about most things. I am overprotective; I admit this. It’s not my girl I don’t trust; it’s the rest of the world. However, I must also admit I am struggling with her growing up more than I ever imagined. The world can be scary, and sometimes I want to put her in a pretty pink bubble and keep her safe and home. I also know this would be a disservice to my very strong, intelligent, capable girl. As much as it pains me, I will continue encouraging her to grow, have life experiences, and keep flashing her million-watt stunning smile.
Turning thirteen has been a year of milestones and firsts. This is the first year I haven’t purchased any toys of any kind for Christmas. Although she is looking forward to The Elf On The Shelf coming tomorrow, she has asked if she can be in charge of moving her some of the days. It’s no secret I’m not too fond of that elf, but confirmation that she no longer believes in the elf or Santa makes me sad. I appreciate that she wants to continue the tradition of that stupid elf. However, I also appreciate that she is willing to jump in and participate in old traditions in a new way. She is genuinely excited to surprise me with elf antics. I feel like I will have to really up my game to impress her. All the time, effort, and planning will be worth seeing her flash that genuine and now perfect smile.
On this gloomy last day of November, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the stages of life, and keep washing your hands.