Peace. Love. Boobs.

I finally went yesterday for an overdue mammogram.

As women, I think we have a complicated relationship with our breasts.  We’re curious about them before they arrive, and anxious to have them.  Then, once we’ve got them, many of us think there’s something wrong with them – too big, too little, too squishy, too saggy.  And when we use them for their “real” purpose – nursing a baby – even that can be complicated.  I breastfed one of my sons for just three weeks before things got so difficult that I just had to stop.  The other, I was able to nurse blissfully for a full year.  Why?  Who knows.  Like I said, it’s complicated.

So, why do we put off our mammograms?  For some of us, just finding the few hours it sometimes takes is difficult.  For many others, it’s fear.

And once we do finally get ourselves there, there are emotions that come up once we shed our clothes and put on that gown.  There are the “what ifs” …. what if they find something? … what if it hurts?  (And by the way, yes, it hurts.  Let’s be honest – they’re smashing your breasts between two glass plates.  Some say it’s “uncomfortable.”  I find it downright painful.  But really, it’s so quick).  And for some of us, it’s just that vulnerable feeling of standing there topless with a stranger who is manhandling your breasts with rubber gloves.

But here’s the bottom line, which we all know.  Relatively speaking, this is a quick procedure, and if they DO find something suspicious on your mammogram, the earlier they do, the better.  I’m happy to say that my mammogram (as well as the ultrasound, which is now prescribed my my doctor because I’m the proud owner of “dense” breasts) was clear.

Peace. Love. Boobs.  Go get your mammogram.


When did this happen?

I just went to take out the garbage, and just put on the the shoes closest to the front door – my not quite 12-year-old son Matthew’s flip flops.  And they were too big.

Sometimes this is the kind of thing it takes to remind me that the role I cherish so much – as “mommy” to my two boys, is short-lived.  I recently realized that once Matthew turns 12 late this summer, we will be 2/3 of the way finished with the 18 years will will have with him before he goes off to college.

And while I love watching him grow up, and love even more every day the person he is becoming, I’m sad to think that sooner rather than later, he’ll be the completely grown up version of who he is today.

I remember lying with Matthew in his bed when he was about 2, reading him a book, looking at his sweet face and hearing his little lispy voice, and wishing I could freeze that moment in time.  And maybe, just a little bit, I did just that.

Somehow, remarkably, I am able to remember almost every day that annoying behavior is temporary, spills and messes can be cleaned up, and what we’re left with is this unbelievably pure, to-the-soul love that has completed who I am.

Love you so much, Matthew.


The 2013 Cicada Invasion

Here are just a few of the things I’ve thought of or learned from the offensive number of cicadas that have recently started appearing where we live in New Jersey:

Nothing can make a bunch of 8-year-old boys scream like a bunch of little girls like a 2-inch bug appearing to unexpectedly come to life when it’s lying in the street.

A good way to teach an unenthusiastic math student a practical application for multiplication is to ask them to figure out about how many cicadas are in our town (Here it’s more than 2 million.  Yuck.)

No offense, cicadas, but is there something you can do about those big ugly red eyes?  Maybe a little concealer, or a more flattering hairdo?

I think if I’d been underground for as long as these cicadas have been, I’d be a little annoyed that the weather has been so lousy.  Hot, then cold, then hot again, and so rainy.  It’s like going on vacation and having bad weather the whole time.

That’s about it, thanks.  See you in 17 years.

A 17-year cicada, or Magicicada

A 17-year cicada, or Magicicada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I heard on the news this morning that some regional Girl Scout councils may be forced to shut down some of its camps for financial reasons.  As a middle-aged mom of two boys, this really has no impact on me whatsoever.

But it makes me think that thousands of girls could miss out on what could for them, be the same transformational experience it was for me.  Some of my best childhood memories center around Jockey Hollow Day Camp in Morristown, N.J., which was (still is, and I hope will continue to be) run by the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.

As a child, I was a Barbie-loving bookworm.  But I loved just about everything about Jockey Hollow, from the 30-minute bus ride to camp, to the smell of the woods we hiked in (the smell of the outhouses, since the camp had no modern restrooms at the time, was another story), to making God’s Eyes with sticks and yarn at arts & crafts.  I learned how to make a campfire, took shelter from the rain in 3-sided wooden structures where we played “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” and poked daddy long legs with sticks.  I had a mess kit that I cooked with on that campfire, a canteen that I drank out of, and I did instructional swim wearing a red bathing cap (because I never could make it past that beginner swim level!) in an ice-cold pool first thing in the morning.

I probably would have been happy playing Chinese jump rope and jacks on my front porch all summer.  But Girl Scout camp nudged me outside of my comfort zone.  And while I’m certainly no great “outdoorswoman,” Jockey Hollow left me with memories (and a few skills) that have crept into my adult life.  My younger son Michael and I usually spend one night each summer sleeping out in the backyard in our tent (which, by the way, was a Costco impulse purchase!).  I can make a great fire in the fire pit we have on our patio.  And girly as I am, I think it’s funny to pick up one of the loads of cicada shells we have around now and put it on my husband’s shoulder.

Thanks, Jockey Hollow.

What I Learned at Summer Camp