On Friday, I noticed a lump on my breast.

My life-sustaining, formerly plump, now empty-tube-sock-full-of-sand breast.


But the hubby and I had plans to skip town for the night to celebrate my 32nd birthday, so I made him tell me it was nothing to worry about, and we left anyway.

As we drove over the mountains to Pigeon Forge, I tried to put the lump out of my mind. I ate snacks, I scrolled through Instagram, I played road-trip games with the hubs, but still – it hurt.

Actually, it was more of a throb, really. An achy, tender, throb.

But the mountains wouldn’t wait and I would only turn 32 once, so I put on a brave face and worried in semi-silence, as I popped pistachios in my mouth and threw the shells out the window. Thankfully, as we pulled off the highway, in the midst of a particularly loud clap in my mental thunderstorm, we haphazardly stumbled upon the absolute cure to any and all health-induced anxieties. I share this with you, in the hopes that you too, might one day find solace in its warm embrace. The cure, my friend, is… MagicQuest.


Or more specifically, a techno-music playing, strobe-light pulsing mirror maze inside a giant, fake castle. Because there is scientifically no way to focus on your empty-tube-sock-full-of-sand breast, while you’re hysterically laughing at you husband slamming his head into a mirror.

So we laughed. We laughed at the mirror face-plants and the subsequent ass-whooping I handed out during mini-golf and the way we contorted ourselves in efforts to beat one another through the laser maze. And we laughed later that night at the Dixie Stampede, as we watched rodeo riders jump through rings of fire and re-watched a video of this here City Slicker getting roped into a water bucket relay race defending the honor of the states north of the Mason Dixon line. And we laughed again when, in an unexpected plot twist, our side lost.

We just laughed. And the worry melted away. And I realized that no matter the outcome of the subsequent breast exam (five) and ultrasounds (three) and mammograms (just the one), all would be well.

That’s not to say that I didn’t pep talk my way to Vanderbilt Hospital, repeating the phrase “I will be fine. Not matter what, I will be fine.” the whole drive. It doesn’t mean I didn’t pray my ass off all day, hoping for a good outcome. And it certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t lose my shit when I had to put on this robe…


and get my boob squished flatter than a crepe in Paris.

It doesn’t mean any of that. But what it doesn’t mean is that now, on the other side of this particular mountain, I am lighter. I am a very special combination of relieved and grateful and more in love with my family than I have been in a while.

Because I was lucky. And while it may all be one, big giant cliche, I feel like I’ve been offered an opportunity to get my head on straight. To appreciate the things in my life that are freaking worth appreciating. And even the things that aren’t.

Like the fact that I can sweep up crumbs from under my kid’s chairs, without silently resenting my husband for not beating me to it. That I can be interrupted by my children for the 107th time, because I get to be home enough for it to happen that often. And I can be here, on my couch, a few pounds heavier than I’d like, with dirty dishes in the sink and my bed left unmade and be fine with that.

Because life is good. And messy as hell. And absolutely, totally and completely fine.