Where did we go wrong?
Twenty-five years together is a lot of years, and I'm not ready to throw it all away. But maybe it's too late to fight for us. Maybe you're gone, and gone for good. That satin, leopard print push-up - the really slutty one we love so much - I tucked it into a bin along with my winter sweaters and those wide-leg raver jeans from college. I put it in storage, boobs. Because it doesn't fit us any more. And, boobs, I'm afraid of what that means.
For so long, everything felt perfect between us. It felt full and feminine, sexy even. But in the last few months, I can tell you're . . . how do I put this? I can tell you're depressed. The long face gave you away.
It used to be that when I looked in the mirror, you were looking right back, like you were proud of us. Not anymore. Now when I look in the mirror, you just stare at my feet or, worse, slump into my armpits. In desperation, I pulled that low-cut blouse from the back of my closet. The clingy black one we haven't worn since we were single. It seemed like a good idea at the time - to remind us of how we used to be. But it was a disaster. You weren't up for it, and that made me angry and confused. I guess it's true what they say - you can never go home again. Yet I miss home, even if home was sometimes pretty trampy.
Remember when we dressed up as Babe-raham Lincoln for Halloween? Sure, it took a Miracle bra, some bra cutlets, and a total lack of self-respect, but DA-DAMN. We looked presidential as hell!
|34 score and C cups ago.|
We haven't dressed up on Halloween for a few years now. Certainly not since the baby.
Can we talk about the baby? We need to talk about the baby.
When Pork Chop came along 15 months ago, we put you to work. And it was hard work. Really hard. Like sometimes, I'd wake up after my two hours of nightly sleep, and you'd feel like cinder blocks. You'd kind of look like cinder blocks. I had no idea, boobs, that you were capable of becoming rectangular.
And let's just admit that the kid wasn't exactly a benevolent overlord. He gnawed. He swatted and scratched. He used you as a pacifier for hours on end. He made you bleed. But you stayed at it. You fed my son. You comforted him when he was tired or sick. You knew his cry, and you sprang to action when you heard it, even while we were at the grocery store. Even when I was wearing a thin white tee shirt.
Then there was the pump. When I went back to work, I had to use the breast pump three, sometimes four times per day. How did I ever bring myself to strap you into that nightmare spawn of a taffy puller and a meat grinder? After each 20-minute session, I half-expected to look down and find you hanging in a neat row of links from my chest. But again, you stayed at it. You fed my son.
As the months rolled on, Pork Chop's lust for milk mellowed. Pumping became less frequent. Nursing sessions were no longer painful; rather, they were welcome quiet time. Quiet time for me, anyway. Between long pulls, Pork Chop would sometimes look at you inquisitively. Sometimes he'd talk into you like a microphone. "Mimi?" he'd ask. And I'd say, "Yup. Milk." Then he'd flash a terrifyingly toothy grin and get back to it.
As of a few weeks ago, Pork Chop only nursed in the morning and just before bed. We had a little more time to ourselves, you and I. Yet when we were left alone together again, despite all of our history, it was awkward. There I was, finally feeling like the old me. But you? You just looked old.
Shelby picked up on the tension. For Mother's Day, he took us to Nordstrom so that we could be fitted for a proper bra. It was a revelation. A 32? Really? A 32! I was wearing a 36. Sometimes a 38. No wonder you've been hanging out in my armpits. My god, boobs, did I ever really know you?
That same evening, I prepared for a dinner out with Shelby - another Mother's Day treat. I slipped into one of our new underthings; it felt just right. I pulled on a silky pink shirt. We looked pretty good. Not Babe-raham Lincoln good, but not bad for a woman with both a toddler and snack chip codependency issues.
Before handing the reins over to the babysitter, I settled into the glider in Pork Chop's nursery. He was wearing footy pajamas and holding his trusty stuffed elephant to his cheek. I curled his warm little body around my own. I brought his head to my chest, preparing to nurse. And . . . nothing. Not a drop.
My son howled.
He howled and howled.
Still nothing. Fifteen minutes of nothing but the sound of my son crying himself to sleep in my arms.
Needless to say, I drank most of my dinner that night. By the time I was a few glasses deep, I figured it was a fluke, that the morning would be different. And it was different, because by morning Pork Chop didn't even want to nurse. He wouldn't even look at you. He was done too.
Had I even paid attention that last time? Had I noticed how soft his head felt, propped in the crook of my arm? Or had I been flipping through my tablet, reading "The 100 Most Important Cat Photos in History" when it all came to an end?
As a kid, I loved Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. I understood, even when I was young, that the story wasn't really about a tree, but about something much bigger. Now I know. It was about boobs.
When you were magnificent and full of life, I treated you like some silly object. And when I became a mom, I made you my baby's bitch. And now that you've been reduced to stumps? I want to know why you don't fill out my shirts like you used to.
I wasn't prepared for you to be so sad. I wasn't prepared for you to give up. Maybe, though, you have nothing left to give.
I don't know what the road ahead looks like for us. I can't promise there won't be another kid, more time spent strapped to the brutal hot dog machine. So I guess I just wanted to say that I'm sorry. I didn't know the good thing I had when I had it. And I guess I just wanted to say thank you. Without you, Pork Chop just wouldn't have been porky. And Babe-raham Lincoln would have looked ridiculous