What message am I sending?

I feel confused lately.  I try to teach my daughter that she’s perfect and beautiful just as she is.  Every day of her life, she has heard “You are a beautiful, amazing, creative girl, and your mommy loves you very much” (followed by three kisses and a huge hug and a sniff of her glorious scent and there you have B’s bedtime ritual-in a nutshell).  Yet, I took this beautiful child:

(at three years old)

(taking a photo of herself last Saturday-this is what happens when you let her take photos at a family event such as my Dad’s birthday)

About half an hour before going to the orthodontist on Monday.  Age 8.

And outside the orthodontists office, with palate expander and braces…headgear only for night.

My point is, every night, I have to turn the key on this thing:

(not hers, just a sample photo of the one similar to what she has)

…and I feel that I’m putting her through this pain and drama all so she can have “perfect” teeth.  Am I sending the girl mixed messages or what?  The orthodontist had me convinced that it was legitimate and would be better than doing it later in life.  And B actually wanted braces, so that was ok.  She likes the actual braces (and since the most common question is “what color did she get?”, I will answer that one now, she got pink, orange, dark purple and light purple).  The headgear is a pain at night, but she sleeps fine with it, so maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  And supposedly the headgear is only for about 6 months with the palate expander.  Braces are about a year for this first phase.  Later on she could need another phase, but it will be shorter than the traditional teenage years.  

I adore this child.  I wish I didn’t have to sit here at work and worry so much that she might be in pain.  But hey, last night she ate mac and cheese and a few small bites of pizza and a yogurt!!!  And not all that much got stuck in the expander!

She’s going on vacation with her Dad and family this weekend for a week about eleven hours away and I’m so sad.  I’ll miss my girl.  Every other weekend, both kids are at their other parents and we plan all the stuff we need to get out of the way for those times.  Her Dad told her last night that he could “let her stay with Mommy” on Friday night since she’d be gone.  Um, sure wish he’d asked me.  We had made appointments and plans for the whole weekend and how can I possibly say that to B?  She’ll always choose to be with me. The funny part is, he’s home that night.  And live in girlfriend will already be headed to the vacation house.  Hmmm, wonder why he wants to be “free” that night?  Could it be he’s still the same guy he was when  our marriage fell apart?  The zebra can’t change his stripes and all that. The sad part?  B was so excited to possibly get to spend the night alone with him.  She wanted him to lay with her while she fell asleep and talk.  😦  Jerk.  My husband said, “she can come with us.  We’ll drop her off at the marina before we head to VT.”  And he’s right.  And I’m grateful he loves being around her as much as I do.  But it still makes me sad.  For my girl especially…we’ll see how it plays out.

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