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Brace Yourself

week our 14-year-old son went to the orthodontist and came home
wearing a million-dollar smile (okay, maybe not a million but
several thousand anyway). He is the third one of our five children
to get his teeth straightened, and we still have the twins to go.

I asked the orthodontist why
he doesn’t recycle braces. It seems like the environmentally
correct thing to do. It hasn’t been too long since our daughter
had hers taken off. We could clean them up, run them through a
sterilizer, and put them on the next Kindred Kid. The orthodontist
laughed and my son rolled his eyes.

Without saying another word I
handed my embarrassed son the bill. He quickly stopped rolling his
eyes and asked me if the paper in his hand would affect how many
presents he got for his upcoming birthday.

"What do you think?"
I asked.

"I think now is not a
good time to discuss presents," he replied.

He was right.

Braces have been around a
long, long time. Phoenician mummies have been found with copper
bands around their teeth, suggesting they were trying to
straighten them. It’s assumed that catgut was used back then,
since stainless steel and nickel-titanium wires weren’t invented
yet. Thank goodness things have changed over the years. Now braces
even come in assorted colors. Our daughter chose to make a fashion
statement and requested purple with green rubber bands. Her
brother is more conservative and asked for porcelain ones that are
almost invisible and, of course, cost more.

By the time we finish making
payments on our twins’ braces we will have spent enough money to
have purchased a cruise around the world or a Mercedes-Benz. But
if we really wanted those things we sure wouldn’t have had five

All kidding aside, I’m
thankful for our very talented and very patient orthodontist,
because you really can’t put a price on a smile.

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