I took my daughter to the first of many orthodontist appointments to come. She is about to get a full set of braces at 15 ½ years old. She has had orthodontia work before, but for this second phase they had to wait for her to quit growing.
I know how this works – in the beginning we’ll go to the orthodontist about once a week. After a month or so it will be every couple weeks for the duration, give or take a week here and there. The short explanation is, for approximately the next two years we will spend a lot of time at the orthodontist.
But what I really want to talk about are the waiting rooms. I upgraded my daughter from the children’s dentist to a general dentist mostly because my oldest is 18 and children’s dentists stop treating kids when they hit 18. But also, it’s nice for my youngest, at almost 16, not to have to sit in a dentist/orthodontist office with toy trains traveling overhead and cartoons on the TVs (okay, maybe the cartoons were fine, but you get the point).
The “grown up” orthodontist is a whole different office. It’s a really nice office with comfortable chairs, snacks for the kids after school, coffee for the adults and of course magazines. This is a new office to us and as I sat down to wait for my daughter during this first appointment, I scanned the selection of magazines: Time, Outdoor Living, National Geographic, varied home and garden magazines and parenting magazines.
I was highly disappointed; the last thing I want to do is read something smart when I’m sitting in a waiting room. Nor do I want to read about parenting, gardening or how to give more style to my home.
Magazines in waiting rooms should be an escape for parents. I feel like a good parent just attending to my daughter’s orthodontic needs, I don’t want to be reminded of what I could be doing better. I don’t want to know what I should be planting right now or how I need to redecorate my home to reflect the newly accepted styles.
I also don’t want to be reminded of how to eat right, what I should be wearing or reading, and how much exercise I should be getting. I don’t want to know where the “in” place is to travel or what I should have done for my children when they were small.
Even the medical clinic I go to now has jumped on the band wagon with only parenting magazines and journals on improving health.
What I really want to read when I am sitting in anyone’s waiting room is People, US, and any other gossip magazine that will help me escape into a world which I know to be unattainable. Somehow reading about the movie stars’ drama makes me feel better about my own less dramatic life.
So as I looked around at my reading choices, then went up and paid the receptionist, I mentioned to her my desire to have People magazine. She exclaimed, “I think we just got a new one!” But then she couldn’t find it. That’s probably because, unlike all the other magazines, neatly laid out on the tables, everyone wants to read People. Or it’s in the staff break room, because when they take a break they want a mental escape and don’t want to be reminded of everything they could be doing besides being stuck in an office on a lovely spring day.
I sighed, dutifully went back to my seat and pulled out my cell phone and played a mindless game for the few minutes until my daughter was finished. It’s going to be a long two years.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can find her in the orthodontist’s waiting room for the next two years. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week atmaplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.