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And this morning I’m still grinning like a Cheshire Cat.  Yesterday I heard these words for what I do believe is the first time in my life….

“What a beautiful smile you have!”

Perhaps an odd comment seeing that there is so rarely a moment when I don’t have a smile on my face.  But not such an odd comment in light of the gift that my mom has been giving me over the past year.  One that I will be forever grateful for.

I haven’t ever had the best of teeth despite the fact that I went to the dentist as I grew up every 6 months.  I was blessed with very thin enamel that stains at the drop of a hat, nooks and crannies that I kept telling myself gave me “character”, uneven color, weak teeth and a mouthful of fillings that have eventually turned into crowns as I got older.  I’m not a vain person…. I am who I am, the pretty and not so pretty parts.  Next to my feet, I’ve never liked my teeth but I’ve lived with them.

And yet I never quit smiling!  It may have been described as a goofy grin, but it has NEVER in my life been called beautiful.

Know how a row of light bulbs goes out one by one in a row?  Five years ago that’s what my mouth felt like… crowns coming off and teeth breaking… from the oldest to the newest.  Everything felt ok at that point even though it didn’t look the greatest.  The money just wasn’t there despite the insurance I had.  So I lived with it the way it was and kept smiling, thinking that I could deal with it when something started really being wrong.  Just MAYBE I could afford it then.  And if I couldn’t?  Well at that point, I wouldn’t be able to NOT afford getting it taken care of.

And then I got a toothache!  Knowing my teeth weren’t healthy and that there would be a ton of work to do, I couldn’t put it off any longer.

Talking to my mom that night on the phone, she said these words….”Susan, get your rear-end to a dentist!  I’ll help you pay for it.  Get done what you need to get done and do not worry about it.”  I never asked for help, but being my mom, she was there to help.  Little did she know what she was getting into, or what a precious gift she has given me!

The troubles with my teeth were overwhelming.  Over the past year and a half, crowns were replaced two at a time and teeth were cleaned and gums were treated.  Until last week.  It was time for the top 7 front teeth to be dealt with as they needed to be.  Not for cosmetic reasons, but for those of my dental health.  Anything cosmetic was a bonus!

“Are you SURE you want to do this, Mom?  It’s not going to be inexpensive.”  “Susan…. GET IT DONE!”

So I did.  Four hours later, after drilling and filing and fitting I walked out with a temporary bridge and a smile I almost didn’t recognize but for the fact that the rest of my face was there to tell me it was mine.  One of my eye teeth is still tilted jauntily to the middle as it has been my whole life, but gone are the crevices… gone are the stains… gone are the weak spots and the almost transparent enamel.

If anyone had told me that my smile could possibly get any bigger than it usually is, I would’ve laughed.

MY WORD!!!  IT’S HUGE!!!

Never in my life did I ever think I’d hear it called beautiful, but it is.

Thank you Mom!  May the beautiful smile you’ve given me shine with the glory and grace of Our Lord every day I live.  And may those around me see Him!

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