The Beauty in Braces


Earlier this week, I took Zac in for his first orthodontist consultation.  I should mention here that I had atrocious chompers as youngster.  Kind of hillbilly teeth.  Zac has inherited some of it. Since braces took up nearly 3 years of my teenage life, Jonathon figured I could take Zac to his appointment.  I could talk the jargon of brackets, rubber bands, wires and pain.

We drove Hwy. 101 in the Pepper-car.  Zac, ever prepared, brought his music along.

“Wanna hear some Childish Gambino?” he asked.

I did.

Turns out C.G., aka Donald Glover, is quite talented. I don’t generally listen to rap, but I can appreciate creative rhymes and rhythms.  It’s essentially poetry set to a beat. Music optional. Warning, though:  swearing happens.

We reached the office and filled out the requisite paperwork.  Ushered into the examination room, the pretty be-fleeced assistant talked us through the process.

“The Dr. Perlot will see you shortly,” she told us.

Dr. Rob, as he likes to be called, entered the room.  After some bantering with Zac about World of Warcraft and hordes, he looked over at me.

“You’re petite,” he stated. “Where does the height come from?”

Flummoxed, I told him my husband and I both have tall brothers. Usually, the question is, “Why are you so short?”

Dr. Rob seemed satisfied with this explanation. He turned back to Zac.

“You need to grow, mister,” he said.  “Your jaw line will grow as you grow.”

Dr. Perlot implied if we’d brought him in earlier, Zac’s mouth wouldn’t have been ready.  Any later, and Dr. Rob would have considered surgery to correct Zac’s overbite and overjet.  We’re overachievers in this family.

The whole scenario felt almost prophetic.  Zac will be 16 next month.  He’s about 5’5″ right now.  We’d love him to push 6 feet.  But we have no control over such things. We pray.

Just in this past week, Zac has started talking about college and getting his grades up.  He’s thinking about the future.  He’s picking up the next pieces of pending adulthood. His outlook has started to move beyond “what’s for dinner?”

As we drove home, I realized that growth keeps on happening, if we’re willing.  Physical growth is a function of life. We endure it – or the lack of it – as best we can.  Emotional and spiritual growth happen because of choices we make in light of our circumstances.  No doubt in a couple of years, Zac will outgrow Childish Gambino.  He might even put down his shorts-n-t-shirts wardrobe for something more interesting, more professional.

For now, it’s enough to see him to keep growing into the man God plans him to be.  He’s no longer the towheaded little boy, fascinated by bouncing balls and Legos, running around in the sun.  He’s taking up responsibility for himself.  He’s discovering what he’s good at. He’s growing up.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.  – 1 Corinthians 13:11


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