Our son, Kyle, had always been a bit of a daredevil. He had such a boyish energy his entire childhood, and I was constantly worrying about him getting hurt. He would climb trees, swim in rivers, ride his bike carelessly, and in general, just behave like a wild little boy. He had broken an arm and a toe, suffered from Poison Ivy, and had several nasty sunburns over the course of his few years on this earth. When he was finishing up fifth grade, at the age of eleven, his orthodontist recommended that he get braces, which was just one more thing for me to worry about.
Would Kyle be able to take care of his braces? How much would it cost, and would it be worth it to have them put on right now or should we wait a while? All of these were questions my husband and I debated for several days after the recommendation. It could potentially be a valuable lesson in responsibility for Kyle, but it could come at a significant cost to us if he did not own up to the challenge. Kyle was adamantly opposed to getting braces, but we knew he would need them eventually. Was it worth the fight to get them put on right now? It might just be a bigger fight later on down the road, or he could be more reasonable and grown up about it by then. I felt like we were between a rock and a hard place.
Then, it all became a moot point for the moment. About two weeks after the recommendation from his orthodontist, my husband and I still had not decided what to do about it. We were at home on a Saturday afternoon and Kyle and his friends were riding their bikes out in the street. I had been out on the porch watching them for a while but it was getting quite hot and I went in to put on some sunscreen, intending to take it back out and make Kyle put on some more as well. While inside, one of the neighbors came banging on the door to get our attention, saying Kyle had been hurt. My husband and I rushed outside to find Kyle walking up the driveway with his hands covering his mouth, and he appeared to be dripping blood.
Horrified, we ran to meet him and pulled his hands away from his face. He grinned widely. He had knocked out what looked like at least one tooth, but did not seem to be in any pain. He was mildly proud of himself for having ridden his bike into a tree, albeit it accidentally. He considered it a battle scar and the sight of blood made him a bit of a neighborhood hero with the other boys. I was furious, but grateful that he was not more seriously injured and that he had been wearing his helmet when he fell from the bike. Needless to say, it was going to be a little while before Kyle got braces put on. First, he had to learn to not knock out his own teeth!