Because of the snow days I was able to take our daughter to the orthodontist to get her expander out. She’s had some form of corrective equipment in her mouth for a long time now. This removal represents her first opportunity in a while to chew gum and eat taffy.
You would think she’d be excited. Instead, she was worried. She was worried about the procedure. She was worried about how it would feel and that it might hurt. She was worried that it would be a bad experience. She invited one of her brothers to come along for emotional support. He graciously accepted and comforted her along the way.
When she was finally in the chair she found it difficult to go through with. She had trouble letting the doctor’s assistant wiggle the expander out. She resisted. Her brother and I sat with her, encouraged her and reminded about the benefits of not having an expander. We promised to stop on the way home for bubble gum. I asked the doctor’s assistant if she could simple show the kid what it would feel like to have the removal device latched on to the expander without wiggling it. She agreed and we moved a step forward.
We went through those motions two times before it was agreed that we would give it try. Still, she maintained a worried expression and kept her hands clinched together. She was facing the moment she’d been afraid of. I told her I was proud of the courage she was showing…and I was. Regardless of the praise or the outcome, she was still worried about the process. A justified worry for an eight year-old.
As difficult as it was for her to allow it to happen, she sat still for what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time as the doctor’s assistant had trouble making it work. During the procedure there was even an equipment shift. It wasn’t working for while, yet she stayed with it through the worry. She enlisted additional courage with each clamp and each pull. She started something that she was going to finish. She didn’t give up and eventually, the expander was out!
Afterward, I asked her how bad it was. With a contemplative look on her face she replied, “Not as bad as I thought it would be.”
Most things aren’t. We each face challenges every day. Some are momentous and some are relatively inconsequential. Of those I’ve faced, the great majority have not been as bad as I thought they would be. Some take considerable time and effort to navigate, some come along with intense struggle and some seem to tough. Sometimes, when we’re in the midst of grappling with a challenge it’s hard to visualize a positive outcome. Even when that’s the case, time pulls us forward.
We don’t always see our way through challenges to outcomes we want, however, when we face them with courage and conviction we’re better positioned to be able to learn and to grow from them. As we continue putting one step in front of the other during these challenging times, we’re all well served to remember that with hope and courage we have the capacity to overcome what sometimes feel like insurmountable obstacles. I believe that in this way, we can carve pathways to joy and balance, and we can find the light at end of any tunnel.
Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.