This is the year we will build a new smile.

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I don’t like building. I learned this lesson when I helped build a new bathroom in my house. And by “helped” I mean I passed a few tools to my best friend’s dad who will one day reveal his hidden angel wings. He has held my old house together from day one. He loves building new to transform the old. He has a vision for the end result, and he does whatever it takes to build the precise plans.

You see, I much prefer for things to be built. I love the OOH-AHH! moment in the grand reveal of the final scene in Fixer Upper. But even in an hour-long show (which editors have labored over to condense months of work into bite-size snippets), I could skip the part about building, sweating, laboring and just go right to the happy tears and beauty.

For me, 2017 is a big building year.

This is the year we will build a new smile.

I say “we” quite intentionally. Because I cannot do any of this building alone.

Tomorrow, I am literally getting a new smile. A dentist has labored over x-rays and measurements and molds to literally build me new teeth that I helped select from color swatches that reminded me of selecting the shade of gel polish for your nails.

I’ve been waiting for this new smile for years. My journey has been nothing like these obnoxious commercials I keep hearing on Pandora for quick and easy dental straightening and whitening for “A New Year, A New You!” I’m on the slow and hard dental plan which keeps wanting to mold me into a building kind of person.

Building takes time and patience and the heart of a lion to endure the battles saved for the bravest of soldiers.

It will take six fully conscious hours to tear down the old and build the new top row, and then six fully conscious hours to tear down the old and build the new bottom row. And this is just temporary. I’ll wait a few months to go back for the permanent smile.

Did I mention that building takes time and patience?

On this gray rainy winter day, I would much prefer to crawl under the covers with the heart of a furry cub and join the sky in crying.

Because building hurts.

Because, for me, I could skip the journey and just get to the part with the destination.

Just get to the part where there’s no more tears and no more pain and no more suffering. Just get to the part where we smile.

But we can’t cheat the system. We must learn to build, brick-by-brick or day-by-day or tooth-by-tooth, whatever kind of building you’re into these days.

We’ll build new schedules with new jobs and new homes and new friends. Or maybe this is your year to be brave enough to change the old.

I think the bravest kind of building happens when we show up to help the old transform into the new. We’ll meet here again soon, in this blog space that has started to feel like home after five-ish years of building story-by-story, and we’ll look back together and say, “Now there’s a journey that will make you smile.”

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