Happy New Year, people!  I, for one, am optimistic that 2011 is going to be better than 2010.  That’s the great thing about having an armpit year.  Sometimes the only way to go is up, and I’m one of the lucky ones who are at the bottom of the ladder.

As you can see from the headline, we’re starting 2011 with a bang.  We do have grannies held hostage, and you’re all going to want to read — and participate in — this topic.  But I have a few stragglers who wanted their voices heard about plastic surgery, so we’re going to start this week’s column with their comments:

I loved Dr. Goodman’s letter, and I loved Implanted in Texas’s letter! Thanks to her for telling it like it is. I truly was amazed at all the naysayers who jumped on the bandwagon against plastic surgery. Everyone who said, “Gee, I don’t know anyone who has had plastic surgery,” is forgetting that maybe people don’t want to say anything for fear of being judged harshly. If Utah is #1 in plastic surgery, then there are an awful lot of people who are keeping their business to themselves.

Plastic surgery doesn’t automatically mean hatred of body image and wanting to look like everyone else. It could, and often does mean, restoring what once was, or taking away the tired look.

I fully plan to have plastic surgery in the future should the need arise. Not erasing every wrinkle, not sucking every ounce of fat, not expanding my breasts to fake bubbles, but to have a healthy, age-appropriate look. I feel young and healthy, and I want my body to reflect that. What is so wrong with that? Because Heavenly Father gave me this body and I shouldn’t “alter” it?

What if I needed a new hip? Should I alter my body for that? After all, I don’t “need” a new hip; I could just stay in bed or in a wheelchair, right? Should I get a perm in my hair? Should I wear glasses or contacts? Should I wear makeup to alter my looks? Should I take drugs to alter processes in my body such as osteoporosis or schizophrenia, or high blood pressure?

Why is it OK to heal your body from ailments in this imperfect world, using medical advances that the Lord gave us, but not use those advances to help make our bodies look better, younger, healthier? Because we don’t need to do that for health? What about peace of mind and mental health? How come we’re told to exercise to look better but we can’t have plastic surgery?

If I feel good about myself, then I can forget about me and do for others. If I am taken care of, I can serve others well. If that means in a few years I get my eyes done, so be it. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Thanks for the insightful topic.

Open-minded in California

Thanks for an eye-opener, Open-minded.  You bring up points that nobody else did.  I wanted Lasix, myself, but when I asked a doctor about it she sniffed, “That’s the least of your problems!”  It always helps to get things in perspective! 

It may be tacky to be reminded once again that you just don’t measure up, but I figure it’s better to laugh about it than to get upset.

I find that I am torn between the two positions.  I don’t believe that having surgery to enhance breasts or other parts of the body for the sole purpose of looking “sexier” is appropriate.  It seems to me this is actually demeaning and degrading in a way.  Doesn’t this seem to say that, “I am the sum of my parts and not my whole”?  Doesn’t it say that these enhanced parts are more important than who and what I truly am? 

My wife and I have had to work hard, in this sexually-oriented world, to convince our sons and daughters that they should be judging themselves and others, not on how “sexy” they or the other person is, but rather on who and what they or that person is on the inside.

On the other hand, Heavenly Father has provided us this wonderful gift of plastic surgery that allows physicians to repair and restore a person’s features back to what Heavenly Father had originally created.  Additionally, I also feel if a person’s features are distracting or far beyond what is considered normal that they cause mental or emotional impairment, then modifying surgery is warranted.  I would always recommend counseling with trusted loved ones and of course our Heavenly Father.

Rory P. Dorrough

There’s the rub, Rory.  What you or I may consider to be a minor flaw could be “distracting or far beyond what is considered normal” to the person who is wearing the alleged disfigurement.  I, like you, am torn in this issue.  I see lots of incidents where plastic surgery is warranted, and lots of other instances where people may be crossing the line.  I’m just glad it isn’t up to me to decide for everyone else!

Here’s the last word on plastic surgery, and I have to admit I got a kick out of it:

The Lord’s temples and meeting houses are updated and renovated on a regular basis. Since my body is the temple of my spirit, doesn’t it deserve the same consideration? The Lord’s temples always look their best for Him. Does my spirit deserve any less than the best possible temple to dwell in?

Gina Smurthwaite

Who can argue with that line of reasoning, Gina?  What a great perspective!

Now we begin a topic that I’ve been waiting for two months to run.  It’s a great topic for January, because so many of us are getting our lives in order and making changes to correct things that don’t work.  One thing that isn’t working for a lot of older people is that they just get to the point of retirement — a place where they’ve been anticipating for years — only to find that “retirement” is not in the cards as far as their children are concerned.  Let’s see what Grandma has to say on the subject:

I have a burning question I’m anxious to ask. I’d like to know how my fellow “baby boomers” are handling the delicate issue of tending grandkids. I currently live near all my children and grandchildren, and I’m being asked on a weekly basis to tend kids. (I have a large family with one teenage child still at home.)

I’m feeling slightly resentful because I had my turn with little ones and now I finally have time to do the things I’ve waited so long to do — temple and family history service, service in the Church, travel and just plain keeping my house clean for longer than five minutes!

What are others doing to handle this? I’ve already made a few comments to the kids about not being available at times, and I’m getting snide remarks about how the grandkids don’t know who I am (which is ridiculous because I see them almost weekly).  Can you feel my resentment and stress?  Any advice?

Grandma in a State that Shall be Nameless because I Don’t Want to Incriminate Myself

Readers, Grandma isn’t alone.  I’ve heard many comments from people in Grandma’s shoes, who longingly wait for retirement, only to learn that retirement isn’t in the cards as far as their children are concerned.

  Either the kids move back in with Mom and Dad (with or without spouses and children of their own), or they expect Mom and Dad to be available as unpaid babysitters, derailing Mom and Dad’s plans to go on missions or do family history work or just to lie back and relax. 

I’d like to hear from grandparents and from children who have relied on their parents after leaving the nest.  There are two sides to this, and I’d like to see both sides represented.  Readers, what responsibilities do loving grandparents have toward their children and grandchildren?  Do parents have an obligation to provide their homes to returning children, or their time to babysit their children’s children?  Is there ever a time when parents can pass the baton to the next generation without guilt, or is parenting a generational commitment?  Is there a point when a parent can say no?

Please send your comments to [email protected].  Put something in your subject line to let me know your letter isn’t spam.  Tell me what you think!  Whether you’re the parent or the child of a grandparent, or even the friend of a grandparent who feels trapped in grandparenthood, I want to hear from you.

Until next time — Kathy

 “I have made noise enough in the world already, perhaps too much,

and am now getting old, and want retirement.”


Napoleon Bonaparte