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How the Doctor Helped Save My Son from a Shark Girl

by Miranda Gargasz
Photo by: iStock

I have a teenage son. He is all about his friends and girls and hanging out and talking on the phone and staying away from “YOU PEOPLE,” his term of endearment for his dad and I. Evidently, we’re not as cool as we think we are.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a more Mama Bear than normal. It all comes down to girls. I know I used to be one, but these modern girls… boy howdy! I have the desire to grab their jaws and force their mouths open just to prove that they have several rows of teeth because I’m convinced they are sharks. They certainly seem to be circling my precious baby and I sense blood in the water.

He plays things close to the vest. He never lets me in too far. I’m left to my own devices and have to embrace my inner “Secret Squirrel” to learn any facts going on in his life. It’s not too hard, if I’m being honest. He is a boy. Boys are LOUD by nature. I can usually get the gist of the current teenage drama while cleaning the bathroom as he talks on the phone in his room. (Yeah. My toilet sparkles. What of it?)

Photo Credit: Hanna Barbara

You see, I’ve discovered that there is at least one girl in his circle of friends who is playing games. She’s canceling plans without having the decency to call. She’s playing boys against one another. She’s using boys who like her simply BECAUSE they like her. She’s getting my hackles up, is what she’s doing.

I tried the diplomatic approach. I sat my teen down and had a little talk.

“Jimmy,” I said, “be careful. Some girls are not as nice as they seem.”

With all the doubt afforded a 14-year-old who is assured that I, an adult, knows absolutely nothing, he says, “Yes, mother.”

“I’m serious. There are some out there – and I am not insinuating that you know any – BUT there are some out there who will use a boy just because she knows he likes her.”

“Yes, mother.”

Then I went to my husband, Jim.

“She’s doing it.” I said pacing the floor.

“She who? And what is she doing?” he said, clicking away on some zombie game on the computer.

“Oh, you KNOW who. She’s messing with my baby.”

“Miranda, calm down. This is normal teenage bullshit. It’ll pass.”

Astounded at his cavalier attitude, I stopped and planted my hands firmly on my hips, “HOW can you sit there and say it will pass? She’s going to hurt him! I can see it coming a mile away!”

“Yes. And it’s a tough lesson he has to learn. Let him. Stay out of it.”

With a huff (because I know he’s right), I sat on the couch and leafed through a magazine.

Jimmy came downstairs and began complaining that his knee was hurting. I called the doctor and made an appointment since this was the third time he’d complained and I wasn’t sure it was nothing.

I carted him off to his appointment and I was quiet, trying my hardest to let him have his space, to reign in Mama Bear and Secret Squirrel.

When the doctor examined him she said it was likely just growing pains. Jimmy is a pretty tall kid for his age and it seems he’s just getting taller faster.

“It’s all right,” she said. “Girls like tall boys.”

I just wanted to crawl under the exam table until…

“But, listen here, young man. Girls are sharks and don’t you forget it. They will hurt you the first chance they get. Don’t believe them when they say they’re on the pill. Don’t believe them when they say they are virgins and you won’t get anything from them. This body is YOURS. Your mom worked hard to make it, you take extra good care of it.”

He blushed, smiled and said, “Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m serious. They tried that crap with my son and I told him for years to watch out. The last thing you need is a case of the cooties that won’t EVER go away, or a baby you can’t afford, or a broken heart that you don’t want. Use your head out there.”

He blushed again and nodded.

As he went to the truck without me, I lagged behind. Once he was out of ear shot I said, “Thank you so much for saying that!”

“Oh, don’t worry. I tell every boy who comes through here the same thing. I modify it a bit for the girls, but they get their version, too. I know they don’t listen to moms and dads.”

Then I did something I never do. I hugged her. I also backed off my toilet scrubbing for a whole week after that.

And now there’s three new girls on the scene…

I’m feeling the need for a Morocco Mole of my own. Who can keep track of all these sharks?

Miranda Gargasz is a writer from a small suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio. She is a contributor at What the Flicka? and The Huffington Post. In February of 2014, she published her first collection of essays entitled ‘Lemonade and Holy Stuff’. You can read more on her Blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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