Apparently my ancestors were human trophy collectors so I bore a child that inherited two hundred teeth by the age of twelve.
I had him lay on his back and tilt his head back as far as possible. I grabbed a mini flashlight, the one that can light up a stadium, the one I keep on the mace key chain, to blind and then burn them. I shined it in his mouth, grabbed the tool and then began the search for the hole to make the evening adjustment.
An hour later I was unsuccessful. I was actually breaking a sweat. Damn, am I that fat? He was over it. I was over it. Dentist appointment scheduled to teach this silly mama what silly blindness I have. This expander the next step before braces are installed. I’m grateful the ancestors gifted all these extra teeth in this tiny ass mouth only to him.
He goes to bed upset. I don’t blame him. The adjustment was supposed to take two seconds. I yawn and think about my own mouth, the upper jaw overbite, the few crooked teeth lining my bottom jaw that I never corrected. They don’t bother me but I began thinking about people’s smiles and how much weight is assigned to their ‘appearance’.
As my son’s mouth has become crowded over the years he has stopped smiling in photos. None of us has ever made fun of his smile so I can only imagine at some point that someone somewhere made fun of him and that it left an impression (pun not intended).
I’ve never asked him why he stopped smiling in photos. I just know. It gives me pause though, a reminder to speak what I know, to reassure him of his ‘handsomeness’, ‘beauty’ in spite of the ‘perfection’ others might tell him he is lacking.
I guess I assumed he knows but as I think about it and his absent smile, I realize he may not know. Tonight, I’ll be sure to make it so, though suspect it will be a while before he believes it himself.
“A smile from a child is packaged sunshine and rainbows” ~ Unknown