When you hear the word, “annual”, what comes to mind? An annual family reunion, perhaps; or possibly an annual sale at your favorite store. It could be those annual flowers that pop up after months of snow. Maybe it’s the annual fee on your credit card. There are lots of times for this word to pop up in our daily lexicon. For women, however, “annual” denotes a very invasive doctor’s appointment. We get the distinct pleasure of these visits because we were blessed with a uterus. I’m no physician but apparently that uterus is a complicated thing. I cannot recall another body part that needs to be scraped for cells on a regular basis. Could we not do this to the elbow? The ankle? Hell, your ankle is already right up there in the stirrups, go ahead and grab some cells from there too while you’re at it. But I digress. The point is that I just had my annual visit to my doctor. Gentlemen, you may stop reading here. Unless you haven’t eaten in a few hours; in which case, please feel free to continue reading.


I am not a particularly modest woman but I really dislike going to the doctor. Send me to the dentist all day long. They let you lay down and relax while you listen to relatively decent music and they clean your teeth for you. The OBgyn does NOT do any cleaning and there is no music. (Sidenote: OBgyns, you might want to consider music…) Anyway, there is nothing I like less than this visit, and after two children, I quite frankly would be fine if they shut that factory down and I could carry on with my life. But, alas, in the name of health…


So my doctor, with whom I have only met once prior to today, is one of those crunchy granola types. I ADORE her. She is just a little on the the hippie edge of things. When I spoke to her last year about my anxiety, which is a longstanding issue for which I am well medicated, she plopped some lavender oil on a cotton ball and sent me on my way, telling me to smell it whenever I was stressed. (For the record, I still have an active prescription to Lexapro and Xanax and I do not forsee substituting lavender for them in the near future.) With all of her earthy love and such, I should not have been surprised when she asked me if I wanted to watch her perform my PAP smear and pelvic exam.


“Absolutely not,” I replied incredulously.


She smiled a matronly smile. “Sometimes it makes people feel better. Did you know that some women have never seen their vagina? I mean if you’re here, you might as well get the full experience.”


My jaw dropped. Does she really think anyone wants to “experience” this more than they already must??


“Well, I prefer to keep this procedure limited to only sense, and I don’t need to feel it AND see it. I might not recover as quickly.”

She chuckled and patted my leg. “Ok. We’ll get started.”

And then she…just kidding. If you know what happens next, you don’t need to read about it. And if you don’t know what happens next, you don’t need to read about it either.

So once my legs were back together and I was in an upright position, I decided to pose the question that was burning on my mind.

“My husband has had a vasectomy. I know this is not 100% effective, but we are definitely done having children. Do you think I should go on birth control?”

And then she laughed so hard she fell on the floor and almost choked to death. Not quite, but you guys, it was seriously close. I’ve given that “are you fucking kidding me” look before and I know it when I see it. She informed me of the science of vasectomies (which I know) and about how it can NEVER be undone, which is an absolute fallacy. So the moral of that story is: A) my doctor thinks I’m an idiot. B) I’m not on birth control and C) I tried to share with her webMD info that she promptly rejected.

So, not only did I leave there exposed physically and mentally, I could get pregnant. Thanks, Doctor.

And this is why my kids are in daycare

Last week, when I handed my check to our daycare provider, I told her that if it were appropriate, I would kiss her. She smiled nervously, took a step back,  and then I flew out of there like Tinkerbell herself. The taste of freedom was on my lips. I was going to DO things. A pedicure? Sure. Shopping? Definitely. Visiting a friend? Put it on the list.  It’s not that I don’t love spending time with my babies. Watching them this evening on their Slip n’ Slide, giggling huge full belly laughs all covered in grass made my heart swell with a kind of happiness I didn’t know existed before parenting. But there are also other moments. For example, Ella brought me my ice scraper this morning while I was in the shower.  Also while I was in there, she asked me for a snack. While I was attempting to shave my legs she informed me that she needed lotion and I peered out from behind the shower curtain to find her hoisting one leg up on the bathroom counter.  Meanwhile, I believe Harrison has lost his sense of hearing because he has literally ignored every single direction I have given him all day. Favorite activities include, but are not limited to: hitting his sister, trying to knock me out of a rocking chair, and practicing lacrosse inside the house. He also decided to show his new and improved vocabulary to his grandmother. (Here’s how I found out which word it was that he said: “Harrison, was it the ffff sound or the sh sound? It was the fff sound. Spectacular.)


It’s only Sunday night and it feels like I have been with my kids for seventeen straight days without a break. But no, it’s just a summer weekend. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I did on Friday, it seems so long ago. I can tell you that the kids were in daycare that day though, and I had some remnants of my sanity dangling from my conscience before I picked them up.


But this is where it gets dicey and where people get judgey. I don’t work during the summer. We send the kids to daycare two days a week because I need to get shit done. I also need to sit down and breathe and think a full thought without interruption. I’ve had moments of self doubt about this decision because, after all, I COULD be home with them this summer. But then I’d return to teaching in the fall a frazzled crazy mess. Those two days per week that my children are in the loving care of another human being give me the ability to recenter my brain and my soul. I truly am a better mom when I pick them up after their day at daycare. I also feel that I should share the wealth. I mean, it wouldn’t be fair of me to keep all this fun to myself. I am so thankful that there is a human being who actually enjoys getting all of the 4- and 5-year olds in the whole town together all at once. Then she takes them out in PUBLIC, all at the same time, and somehow they all come back at the end of the day. Had this been my job, I’d have lost a child or two in the shuffle. Not only do they all come back but they all have their shoes on. Honestly, the woman is a saint.


Tomorrow, my kids are going to go back to daycare. I’m going to do things like take out the trash and empty the dishwasher. If I get adventurous, I might clean out my closet. But the good news is that I can shave my legs in peace.