Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio. Here’s this week’s column:
Leave it to my young teenaged daughter to succinctly describe a scene from the sitcom that is sometimes my life.
“That awkward moment when you discover your gynecologist is moving in next door,” she said as she slid down in horror in the front passenger seat of my car.
There is some teenager embellishment in that statement. My gynecologist of more than 15 years is not moving in next door. It’s more like 3 doors down.
I made this discovery as I was driving down the street the other day, kid in tow, and came upon two images I couldn’t quite put together in my head. There was the house that has been for sale for the last four months and standing right in front, holding a tape measure, was indeed, my gyno.
“What are you doing here?” I asked as I rolled down my car window.
“We’re buying this house!” he smiled with all the excitement of a new homeowner. “It’s exactly what we’ve been looking for.”
“Oh, wow, welcome,” I said. “Don’t know if you realize, but I live down the block. Oh, and that new patient I referred to your practice? She’s two doors down.”
“Great.” He seemed unfazed. “Like a satellite office.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my daughter sliding down in her seat.
“Awkward!” she declared as we drove away. “Do we need to move?”
Of course, when you’re 14, the very idea of the gynecologist is disgusting. Hey, the annual visit is hardly the highlight of the year for most of us big girls. Add to that, the idea that we will now have to pass his house in order to get to ours.
“He’s seen you ‘down there’ everyday!” she groaned.
“Not every day, just once a year,” I corrected, finding myself at one of those ongoing challenging moments we mothers of girls face.
Everything, it seems is a potential message about how we feel about our bodies. One misstep, the experts and blogs warn, and your kid is headed straight to an eating disorder.
“Don’t talk about hating your body,” they admonish. “Don’t talk about being fat or anything else negative concerning her body.”
Sometimes, this is a real challenge. After she downs her 3rd blueberry muffin and hasn’t gotten up off the couch for any physical activity for weeks, I’m biting my lip or yes, saying something.
Where’s the line? Healthy body image vs. realistic and important health choices?
Fortunately, in the case of the new neighbor, I had a good answer.
“Parts is parts,” I said nonchalantly. “I don’t have anything ‘down there’ he hasn’t seen on thousands of women every single day for the last 30 years.”
Don’t give me too much credit. I’m not so progressive that I would start going to a gynecologist I knew first as a neighbor. But this particular doc is like gold. I’ve had his cell phone number for years. I can text him if I don’t feel well on a weekend or to refill a prescription. You know how rare that is? Even more rare than a good neighbor, which I’m sure he’s going to be. So feet in the stirrups once a year for the guy down the block it will be.
“Sure will make next month’s Block Party all the more interesting,” I joked to my daughter.
“You’re really weird,” she declared.
Your teen tells you “You’re weird,” you know you must be doing something right.
Do you think the new neighbors will notice?