From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

A Dose of Reality

Perimenopause was beginning to frustrate me to no end. From sagging body parts to fledging chin hairs, from fading eyesight to a fading memory, getting use to this phase of my life at age forty-three was slowly becoming a reality. But no one could make this fact more evident to me than my ten-year-old son, Shawn.

From the day he was born, Shawn has always been on the small side. To keep up his self-esteem, the family has always made it a point to praise him for growing taller, using everyday household objects to gauge his growth. From the first time Shawn was able to see in the bathroom mirror by himself without having to use a stool, to being able to sit at the family dinner table without a telephone book, growth milestones in Shawn’s life have been a constant in our home.

One favorite growth milestone for Shawn was the kitchen countertop. When he had grown tall enough to finally see over the counter, we had to come up with another growth milestone. Looking around the house, the next obvious one was growing tall enough to see over the top of the refrigerator; at five-foot, seven-inches tall, I couldn’t even see over the top of this large appliance. Stumped, we finally agreed to measure him to me, deciding to use my boobs as his new growth milestone.

One of my favorite things in the world is to get hugs from my boy, who is very lovable, caring, and compassionate. Whenever he would hug me, I’d say, “Oh, Shawn, you’re almost as tall as my boobs!” He’d just laughed, mainly because I would say the word “boobs” to him.

Then reality set in. One morning, when I was enjoying my wake-up hug from Shawn, I was shocked by how tall he was compared with my boobs. It was as if he had grown four inches overnight!

“Shawn, look how tall you are! You’re taller than my boobs,” I exclaimed to him, mid-hug.

Shawn pulled away and looked up at me with sleepy eyes. He mumbled, “Duh, Mom. You’re not wearing a bra.” He then walked into the living room to play his Game Cube.

I stood in the kitchen, dumbfounded. Looking down at my perimenopausal body, I realized that Shawn hadn’t grown four inches overnight, but quite the opposite; my boobs had decided to sag four inches. With no chance of a boob job in the immediate future, we still have yet to find another growth milestone for my loving, compassionate, caring, and honest ten-year-old!

Dahlynn McKowen

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