Today marks the third attempt of taking my daughter to the orthodontist. Iris is 7 years old and needs braces. They are not for cosmetic reasons but because she has such a small mouth and there is not enough room for all of her teeth to come in. Iris does NOT want braces. Iris does well at the dentist and is very cooperative. It’s been a different story with the orthodontist. She clamps her mouth shut and makes grunting noises when they ask her questions. It’s embarrassing to the point that I don’t want to claim her as my own. Seeing as how she calls me “Mom” when we are there makes it very difficult to pretend I don’t know her.
I CAN’T empathize with this. In 2nd grade I desperately wanted braces. I would fashion braces out of paper clips and such. I wanted so badly to look like a teenager.
The paper clips never fooled anyone; not even the Kindergartners that rode my bus.
I had an hour bus ride each way to school and home. It seemed like forever. In order to pass the time, I would gather all of the Kindergartners and tell them stories.
Seeing as the bright 5 year olds didn’t buy my braces story, I went to the next extreme and made up a tongue brace. I had a Hello Kitty eraser in a little case. I would take the cap off of the case and put it on my tongue and tell the children I was required to wear a tongue brace after experiencing a serious injury to my tongue. They bought this story hook, line and sinker. In my little mind I imagined they were jealous and were desperately trying to come up with ways to injure their tongue so they too could sport a tongue brace.
I had forgotten about my wild imagination and storytelling marathons until a few years ago when I was at a store checking out and the cashier’s face lit up when she saw me. With a burst of enthusiasm she said, “Are you Melissa?”
I couldn’t hide my confusion as I said, “yes” because I didn’t recognize this person. She immediately introduced herself and explained she used to ride the bus with me in elementary school. I nodded my head, still not making a connection. My husband was with me and she told him, “Melissa used to gather all of us little kids around and tell us the best stories.”
As I stood there trying to remember back to those elementary years she began to relay the story I told her and she instantly jogged my memory and made me chuckle.
I gathered all the Kindergartners around me and in a serious, whispering voice I told them I had something very important to tell them. I told them the Keebler elves lived in one of my parent’s trees. Every once in a while I was lucky enough to see them and I had even spied them making the cookies a couple of times.
The little kids sat quiet with their mouths opened drinking in every detail I told them. I continued to tell them Keebler Elf stories throughout the year and my adventures with them.
This store cashier had remembered this from 25 years before. She said she believed it for many years and often told other people she knew where the Keebler elves lived and that she knew the girl whose land they lived on.
It’s hard to believe I was such a convincing storyteller at 7 years old. Now if only I could call forth that little girl in me and come up with a story to tell my dear Iris and make her want to get braces!