When I was nine, I informed my mother I needed braces. And when I was ten, she took me to my first orthodontist appointment.
Ten weeks after my first appointment, my mother came to two important conclusions: 1) Dr. Friedman did not sterilize his tools, which meant I probably had ten months to live, as I had picked up some disease involving saliva, needles, and dental supplies. And 2) our dental insurance did not cover the cost of basic orthodontics, arguing that it was merely cosmetic, rather than orally necessary. Clearly, insurance companies were never middle school girls.
Given both of these facts, my mother determined that I could no longer frequent Dr. Friedman’s office and that we needed a bureaucratic miracle, in which said doctor forgot to bill us for his ill-hygienic services. It also meant that I would be forced to permanently wear the braces he had recently inserted into my abnormally large mouth.
Well, my mother being who she is, determined that a lifetime of braces was more than any young woman– particularly her daughter– should bear, and so she decided to surgically remove them herself. As you might imagine, I had my doubts. My mother has never attended a day of dental school in her life, and the thought of her employing instruments she used on tumor-laden mice on her tweenage daughter was far from appealing.
But the possibility of having oddly finagled wires permanently lodged in my mouth was even less appealing than the former reservation, and so I succumbed to her offer and let the mad scientist embrace her inner crazy. Two hours later, I was braces-free and had not lost a single drop of Type A blood.
I realized then that my mother was more than a woman who endured 25 hours of labor to birth me. She was half goddess, half magician. She had done the seemingly impossible, and she had succeeded. More specifically, she had inspired me to dare to do the impossible– to never let my doubts, fear, or inhibitions prevent me from chasing my dreams.
And every day since that fateful fifth grade after school afternoon, my mother has continued to remind me of ability to climb metaphorical mountains. That, avid readers, is why I call her every single day.