You know those silly, hypothetical questions that you’d ask each other to pass the time? Things like, “For a million dollars, would you… run naked down the highway?” “For 10K, would you eat 12 slugs?”
Well, today I learned that I’d be willing to dig through someone else’s mouse-infested trash for….
Let me start off by saying that if you’re one of the genetically gifted minority that produced offspring with impeccably straight teeth, then gets to steppin’, because you probably won’t fully appreciate the angst of the orthodontic process.
I don’t mean wearing braces, although it’s not very fun.
I mean paying for someone else to wear them.
Braces are insanely expensive. So far, #1 is the only one currently needing them, though with five other kids, the only way we’re financing any additional orthodontic needs is via our current financial investment plan.
(You know. Scratch-off tickets.)
We’ve already spent plenty of moolah on perfecting #1’s smile, which we’re happy to do. She was recently fitted for a bite plate. If you’re unfamiliar with them, a bite plate is the plastic & metal equivalent of having a thick wad of gum stuck to the roof of your mouth. You wear them for the majority of the day, only removing it to eat & drink.
Note: You take out a bite plate to eat & drink. Then, you put it back into your mouth.
IN THEORY, anyway.
We’ve had two close calls. Although she was given a plastic carrying case for the plate, #1 had taken to wrapping it in a paper towel or napkin while eating, with the intention of putting it immediately back in.
(The words, “with the intention” are key here.)
Twice, the napkin-enclosed bite plate nearly bit it; it was nearly thrown away both times.
This past Saturday, we spent the day in CT at my seester’s house for a big 1st birthday bash for my nephew. On the way home, #1 suddenly cried out -you guessed it:
“Oh NO! I left my bite plate there! On Aunt Chell’s dresser, in a paper towel!”
I called my seester, who said she’d look for it. It wasn’t the end of the world, because I’d planned to come back up to CT on Wednesday (today) to visit for nephew’s actual birthday.
(Note: #1 was not coming with us due to previous engagement. How convenient.)
So today we drove back up to CT, & after settling in, I asked her about the bite plate. She said she didn’t see it. Anywhere.
It must have been thrown out.
There was ONE saving grace to the possibility of it being in the trash. Although the party had been four days prior, in seester’s area of CT, there is no free garbage collection. My bro-in-law gathers several bags of garbage that are stored in a corner of their unfinished basement and brings them to the local dumping area. So chances are, the bite plate was still on the premises.
- the garbage was four days old.
- there were 13 -THIRTEEN- bags of garbage.
- a bite plate is the size of a key.
- the garbage section of their basement has … mice.
Nope. No way I was doing that. So I called the orthodontist to ask about replacing it:
“You can…. for $275.”
Um. Nope. Not doing THAT, because we on a budget.
So I dragged a random 3 of the 13 bags outside onto her patio to begin a search & rescue mission as my mom, seester, and my five kids looked on in horror.
Well, first horror. My family felt genuinely bad that it was either find the plate or pay, big time. Then HILARITY. Because when you’re the one digging through days-old trash for a needle in a haystack, it’s tons o’ fun. For THEM.
Sort of like this:
I opened one bag & began sifting through it; keep in mind, every single paper item could potentially have the clip. I kept digging, but began to lose heart. There were too many bags, & too much in each bag. It would take too long. It was too small…
So I prayed silently. God knows that we don’t have money to spare, that I am trying so hard to be careful with our finances, & He knew how important it was to me to find it.
I’m not lying when I say that immediately upon finishing my prayer, I pulled out yet another crumpled napkin, & sure enough…
This was one of those moments in life when I remember that while God is the God of the big things in our lives, He’s also the God of the small things, too. And while some could say it was merely coincidence that I found the clip right after praying, I know that finding it was a confirmation that God loves us enough to care about the small -in this case, really small– details of our lives, too.
In the end, we’re $275 less poor, no mice crossed my path, & #1 learned she was real lucky not to have been along for this trip. A (good) day in the life!
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