Dr. Sophia Grant: I found my retainer the other day. It still fits. I was happy to clip it in my mouth, really proud that something still fits after all these years. My retainer is older than most of the NBA players and Hollywood starlets. I've been wearing it at night, just like the old days. My husband, a dentist, has asked me why. "I don't know, I guess it makes me feel young," I told him. I have never been one to chase my youth, and I found it puzzling.
Then it dawned on me. With the death of two icons from my childhood, I feel old. It's not my-aching-back old, but more like nobody-knows-the trouble-I've-seen old. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I seem to be in a cloud of sadness. Not because I am grief-stricken, but more because I am mourning the loss of my youth. I haven't been young for a long time, but I foolishly thought I would maintain that same fun-loving spirit that I had years ago.
Maybe that's just hard to maintain. Maybe 40+-year-olds with that attitude are not happy-go-lucky, but irresponsible. Either way, I am in new territory. I thought I would feel wise at this stage. I don't. I feel like everybody else: playing it by ear and trying to do the best I can. Maybe in 30 years, I'll have some sagacity to impart.
My retainer takes me back to the 80s, when I had never personally experienced death and disappointment. I was still carefree. My wedding was planned in my head, and yes, baby names were selected. It feels good to remember that time.
I know that this sadness will pass. Until then, I'll try not to be so bogged down by life's circumstances, and I'll have the added bonus of straighter teeth.
|Dr Sophia Grant has over 15 years of experience as a pediatrician working in a variety of settings. After completion of a fellowship in Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma, she stayed on as a faculty member and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor. She is also co-author of "Visual Diagnosis of Child Abuse on CD-ROM," Third Edition. When not doctoring, Dr. Grant spends her time being a wife and mother of three wonderful children.|