“You know what is amazing?” 12-year-old Danny asked me last week on the way home from his bus-stop pick-up.
“What?” I replied.
“The human body,” he responded.
I suspect that his revelation stems from a recent science lesson about chromosomes and genetic disorders and a report he wrote about hemophilia. He went on to share how unbelievable it is that HUMANS CAN CREATE OTHER HUMANS. I agreed with him and added my two cents: It is also amazing how often the human body plugs along despite the potential for breakdowns. The body is a machine, much like an automobile, and the possibility of glitches, accidents, crashes, and burns is ever present. We are wise to keep our bodies running with nutritious fuel, purposeful activity, smart maneuvers, maintenance, and tune-ups. Still, wrong turns can occur.
Danny easily transitioned from our brief chat; bodies are now completely off his radar, replaced with gaming and binge watching with his dad (for the second time) episodes of “Lost.” My radar, however, is still hovering on the topic.
Bodies—mine specifically—have been on my mind since the day I realized that my femaleness in this world generated attention. For me, it started in first grade with glasses that I hid in my bedroom closet (sorry, mom) because I felt embarrassed to show up at school looking different. Then came boobs—BIG BOOBS—that made me a body-conscious girl and a frequent buyer of large, oversized shirts. I had some acne. I had braces. Weight crept into the mix at some point, and although I have never been overweight or underweight by number alone, I have obsessed at times about looking better. Until this year.
This year, I turned 45, and I feel confident, secure, and happy with my human body and all of its imperfections and simultaneous awesomeness. I believe that my age delivered me to my current contentedness, but the list Danny inspired me to write about everything my body has encountered—the glitches, accidents, crashes, and burns—cemented my peace of mind.
I asked Danny to work his magic on my words and turn them into a sparkly poem. (He recently did some killer work in language arts.) He declined. Therefore, what follows are the notes I scribbled yesterday while waiting for the dudes at the Ford dealership to service my car.
Boobs too big
Breast reduction of 4 pounds
Baby not thriving
Stopped growing at 6 weeks
D&C at 10 weeks
Baby Boy No. 1
Gained 50 pounds
Vaginal delivery at 10 pounds, 9 ounces
Baby Boy No. 2
Gained 42 pounds
Vaginal delivery at 10 pounds, 2 ounces
Pea-sized hard lump on left side
Lumpectomy chemo, radiation, and more at Stage 1
Tummy skin hanging
Abdominoplasty at 5 years post-last-baby
Ran ½ marathon
Because I could
2:12 at 6 years after cancer
Diagnosed pelvic floor disfunction + IBS
Testing ended at 2 years
Antibiotics four times in 6 weeks
(Also, the freezing, burning, and excision of skin cancer that has spanned the years.)
You know what is amazing?
MY HUMAN BODY.