The Va-Jay-Jay Cheerleader

Note to any men, male relatives, or easily offended readers of this blog:  The following paragraphs will contain references to lady bits, va-jay-jay's, and other mysteries of the deep.  Please feel free to hunt off elsewhere for something to read.

For the remaining eight readers, let's discuss OB/GYNs.

I have been going to my current one for about four years.  Originally, I had seen someone else, but she no longer became an option on my insurance, and her practice offered up my current physician as a replacement.

After baring my lady bits to the world not once, not twice, but THREE times with the birth of my children, I stopped really caring too much about who takes a peek at my hoo-ha.  All I really need out of a GYN is a cervix swab and the daily prescription that keeps me from single-handedly maintaining the profits at Tampax, so honestly, one pair of hands is just like the other.

I should say, one speculum is just like any other.

Cue my introduction to the current lady bits inspector.

The first time I met her, I waited for the real doctor to come in and wondered if she was a high school student interning for the day with the nurses.

I'm not kidding.  She seriously looks like she is 15.  She is perky, chipper, and annoyingly adorable.  She could easily pass for a high school cheerleader, and at any moment, I half expected her to lead the room in a cheer for my excellent va-jay-jay.

But instead, she hiked up her shirt sleeves, slapped on the rubber gloves, and went deep into female territory.

Through the always-pleasant cervix swabbing conversation, I learned that she was only a year into her practice.

By my calculations, that would make her roughly the same age as my children.

Okay.  Maybe I exaggerate.

But only slightly.

It is a little disconcerting to start being older than the doctors that are taking care of you.  You expect wisdom to come with age, and assume that you automatically know more than everybody else who is younger.

You don't feel any older, yet almost overnight you become a woman with grey hair, wrinkles, and cobwebs on your uterus - all while kids that were born while you were in middle school suddenly are licensed physicians patting your hand and mumbling, There, there.

It's the stupid circle of life.

And next week, when I'm sitting in the stirrups, clapping along to the chants of, "Go!  Vagina, Go!" I will take comfort with this one thought:  I might be getting old, but the only hoo-ha I spend any time with on a daily basis is my own.

I can't say the same for the va-jay-jay cheerleader.

Thirty-eight again


Last Thursday I finally turned 38.

I say finally because I have inadvertently been telling people for the past two years that I am 38. I didn't do it on purpose; I genuinely forgot how old I was and kept thinking I was 38. A few weeks prior to my birthday, I paused and wondered if I was finally going to turn 39 or 40 this year, as it seemed that my thirty-eighth year was really dragging on and on. Calculating my actual age led me to realize my mistake.

After having a good laugh, I decided it is quite telling.

It shows how unimportant the numbers of your mid- to late-thirties are. You're not quite to the forties, and just somewhere in the middle of the thirties, and all rather meh when it comes to years. I don't feel old; yet I don't delude myself into thinking that I am still a little young thing. I am just me. Plugging along happily, living my life, and hoping to eventually drop those 20 pounds I keep meaning to lose, but never seem to care enough to actually give up the food it will require to do so.

I am way more confident than I was in my twenties - both as a mother, a wife, and a friend. My kids are older and much more independent, making them, quite frankly, a lot more fun. I have all day to myself to work, shop, or meet friends for lunch. I happily indulge in an afternoon matinee at the theater and feel no guilt whatsoever. Those books I always intended to read actually get read.

I feel very at home in my skin. I've accepted the inevitability of the stretch marks staying for life, and, quite honestly, I have decided it's the least of my worries when it comes to my body. I work out, but have sort of given myself permission to eat, too. At 38, I have noticed the wrinkles becoming more prominent, but they are not quite concerning enough to act on just yet. Besides, I know my forties will be all about the botox anyway.

I am still slightly schizophrenic when it comes to loving my freckles, however.

But all in all, I am happy. I am experienced enough to be confident in my positive contributions to the world. I am not afraid to try new things and I still know there is a lot for me yet to learn and do. I know it is better to be full of love and forgiveness than to harbor hate and resentment. I know the value of a good friend, and feel my life richer for the beautiful women who I am blessed to know - both near and far.

I think that the thirties and I have done just fine together.

Here's hoping the rest of the decades are just as accommodating.

If not, maybe I'll just keep saying that I'm still 38.


P.S. Awesome things to note in my birthday photo: The coconut cake. If you have not made it yet, please do. It is life changing. And totally worth every bite of its 9,000 calorie self. The diet coke in a goblet? Courtesy of my children. Making their mama's caffeine addiction classy since 1998. The sweater? Courtesy of WHBM. My current favorite place to shop for all things ruffles.

Narcissism, sick days, and headshots

McKay is home sick today with "The Flu."

You know the one - it causes you deep stomach pain, nausea, and anxiety from nine o'clock at night until about one minute after school starts the next morning?

Poor baby.

I was ditching him to go meet friends for lunch at Bread Co. (because, clearly, I care so much) and he managed to summon all his remaining strength to lift his head off the pillow and, in a weak voice, ask me to bring him back a giant cinnamon roll.

Ah, the wonders of modern medicine. A cinnamon roll cures the flu.

Whatever. He works hard all the time and never misses school. I'll cut him some slack.

But as punishment (along with sharing a bite or two of said giant cinnamon roll) he was tasked with playing photographer for me today. Because my hair looked really cute. And I never have any pictures of me. And what if I died today and they all had nothing to remember me by? And what would my friend Beckie blow up to poster size and paste on the ceiling to haunt the Husband and his new 20-year-old wife with?

Okay. Maybe not that last one.

But I am really sick of looking at the same picture over there on the sidebar from, like, four or five years ago.

Girlfriend has got herself some new wrinkles! They must be seen!

Anyway, your job (along with sending me your most heartfelt compliments on my new pictures) is to tell me which one you like the best for my new headshot. If I was on top of things, and not so busy criticizing staring at myself, I would have numbered them for you. Oh well. Tell me anyway, will you?

Which me is the best me I can be?





The essence of me

I am a girl who always loses it the week before a haircut and trims her own bangs. I hate that about myself.

I am afraid of dying and, as a result, plan my own funeral about nineteen times per month.

I am a really, really good baker.

I don't like to fail and worry constantly that I will.

I do not believe in doing my own nails and indulge myself in that every other week.

My biggest fear is public humiliation. Which is really ironic considering how frequent I have actually been humiliated in public.

I love my babies with the fiercest intensity my soul has ever known.

I am a cleaner, but loathe cleaning the bathroom. Of everything in my life, it gets cleaned the least.

My favorite thing is to curl up in the warm sunshine with a good book and a cookie.

I am harder on me than anybody else.

There was a piece of me missing until I met the Husband. He is truly my best friend and I don't know what I'd do without him.

I love music and singing so much it hurts, but can't read or sing a note to save my life. I dream of standing on a stage and belting out Broadway in my next life. I think it's one thing I got gypped on, and I plan to ask god about that when I see him next.

My friends are more important to me than I let on. Spending time with them refills my soul.

I don't like to exercise. But I also like to exercise.

I am completely, irrevocably, undeniably insecure.

I am a religious person, but I would not consider myself to be very spiritual.

I love the top half of my body, but loathe and despise the bottom half.

Looking through a camera lens at others has taught me a lot about myself.

I am always hydrated. Getting my water in is the one thing I am perfect at every single day.

I have a shoe problem. There is not room enough in my closet for all the shoes I have, but they're the one thing I am incapable of throwing away.

I really like to sleep and am quite good at it, too.

I am kind, freckled, hopeful, smiling, tall, and happy.

I am me.

And today I decided that is a pretty good thing to be.

The one in which I pretend it's really all about me

A little something minutely related to yours truly popped up in this particular magazine this month:


While your first guess will probably target this article as the one relating to me, you would be incorrect:


(although I will admit to having several undiscovered stages to my new and old rear end which I am striving very hard to discover, explain, and eradicate).

But what is most exciting to me is a little article featuring this family on page 130:

Remember when I went to Philly last November and battled a hurricane to take pictures of 11 families?

Just so happened that this darling family was one of them:

And this adorable picture is now immortalized forever in the annals of Parents magazine.

But what makes my little heart giddy with joy is this three-word blip, hiding in the far right-hand corner, almost invisible to the naked eye:

Congratulations, Tara on making the magazine. I thank you from the bottom of my photographer's heart that my name made it in there, too.

What's that? You can't find a copy of it in your store?

That's probably because I single-handedly bought all the copies west of the Mississippi.

Really, it may be my one and only shot at fame, fortune, and status. I've got to make the most of it. You know, in case other magazines start beating down the door, begging for my work. My raw, undeveloped talent. My very essence, my aura...

All right. Stopping now. That was fun.

Repeating history

I cut my teeth and learned to walk to the soundtrack from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Cary Grant movies.

I roller skated a lot.

But, sadly, I didn't play with dolls much.

I learned how to fight from my four brothers, though none of us was ever really good at it. I climbed a lot of trees. I became a master of hopscotch.

I learned about gardens from my grandma as I ate fresh, crisp peas on desert rose plates in her kitchen. I also learned the joy of butter.

I bathed in an ocean of familial love at noisy family parties. I played Red Rover and Easter Egg with many, many cousins.

I cried and laughed through the awkward pains of junior high. I got a lot of perms and hated my body.

I sang Air Supply songs at the top of my lungs while driving with friends in high school. I went to dances in Jessica McClintock dresses. I was very unsure of myself.

But I pretended otherwise.

I went to college and learned how to stand on my own two feet. I dated a lot of boys. None of whom were quite right.

I met a handsome man one night quite by accident and felt my heart skip a beat. My soul recognized him right away.

And so I said yes. Naturally.

We blinked and became parents of three. I got very little sleep and changed a lot of diapers. I put on Disney movies and took desperate naps on the couch. I went to the park and pushed little diapered bottoms on the swings.

I moved a lot, and made many new friends. I logged hundreds of miles behind a jogging stroller.

I made peanut butter sandwiches and wiped sticky fingerprints off the wall.

I cried when the school bus came for the first time. For about a minute and a half.

I blinked again and found them all in school. When the bus came that day, I cried for about an hour and a half.

Now I find myself pleasantly surprised that the story is repeating itself for them.

With musicals, cousins, desert rose plates, tree climbing, butter, hopscotch, and endless love.

Something tells me that this story will have a happy ending for them, too.