God, I’m glad the holidays are behind us. The entire month of December felt like an overwhelming series of to-do lists with a big anxiety-inducing family get-together at the end of it, which is to say I’m not sure I was able to soak up the spirit of the season this time around.

I felt this way last year, too. There are of course plenty of reasons why the holidays feel more stressful than they used to be (like, I don’t remember actively praying that no one brings up the they/them convo in years past) but I think what I’m really missing is the magic of younger kids at Christmastime.

Of course, I’m not really missing the grind of having littles during the holidays. I know I’m not the only one who succumbed to making whimsical chalkboard “bucket lists” that were really a burdensome parental deathmarch of festivity: we WILL make the hot chocolate, we WILL visit the photogenic tree farm, we WILL build a gingerbread house even though it’s the one and only winter holiday activity that’s even messier and more frustrating than carving pumpkins.

Do you know that parenting poem “The Last Time”? I’m not even going to link it because it makes me so weepy, if you want to do that to yourself you’re gonna have to do the googling. Anyway, the gist of it is that you never know when something is the last time — the last time you read to them in bed, the last time you hold their hand crossing the street, the last time you carry them in your arms.


Anyway: that’s what I think about too much during the holidays. All our last times. The echoing chasm between holiday expectations and holiday realities. The daunting task of simply being present, rather than caught up in what things should or should not be.

I considered getting a breast reduction in 2020, and I mean I strongly considered it: I went to a plastic surgeon and had an official consultation and everything. (Which, amusingly, included a doctor’s note from the visit that described me in part as “well-nourished.” This dry observation reminded me of the elderly pediatrician who took one look at a young wailing baby Riley and wrote “Teething BIG TIME” in his notes before underlining that phrase twice for emphasis.)

Ultimately I decided against it, mostly for pandemic reasons. The news was dire and endlessly confusing at the time, and it felt wildly stupid to put my health at risk for reasons that probably wouldn’t hold up in my brain if there were complications. Well, THIS was super worth it, I could imagine thinking as I choked on the final endotracheal tube.

Now that some time has passed I’m not quite as concerned about tempting medical fate, but when I think of what I hoped to “fix” with a reduction, I realize my bodily complaints have expanded along with my, you know, body.

I’m very drawn to the idea of being less top-heavy, being able to button a shirt, wearing a bra that wasn’t designed by humorless German engineers, and maybe even having less back pain. My boobs have always been unwieldy, but now they’re just uncomfortable all of the damn time. Going from a DD cup to something more C-ivilized sounds like an actual dream, even if it comes with expense and recovery time.

However … it’s just that … well, I’m just saying that as long as my body is on the table and the credit card is being charged, would it really be so bad to add a little extra … liposuction? How about an abdominoplasty, which not only removes extra fat and skin but also tightens muscles in the abdominal wall (which is so appealing, since the older I get the more I feel all loose and SPRUNG in the abdominal area, regardless of exercise)? What about a so-called “mommy makeover”, which does a variety of things in one single-stage procedure?

You see the problem: it never ends.

I do think that a breast reduction is the sort of relief-providing cosmetic surgery that most people don’t regret getting, as compared to, say, a comically outsized Brazilian butt lift. But I also know that it feels like a very slippery slope, and I’ll never run out of things I wish I could change about myself.

Then again, I got LASIK in 1999 and it permanently upgraded my entire life! Even though it was super creepy to smell my actual corneas sizzling! (Fun fact: the odor is the same as burnt hair.) Never say never, boobs: you’re still on notice.

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