I am an average mother in almost every way, so yes, much to my regret, I do yell at my children.
Cancer is a growth hormone for empathy, and empathy makes us useful to each other in ways we were not, could not have been, before.
I moved from Philadelphia to California when I was 25, after traveling abroad for a year. I thought I'd come home eventually and settle down, but I didn't.
The truth is, I'd like to be closer to my kids. I'd like to share more with them. But that's not what this time in their lives is about. This is their time to separate, to self-direct, to become independent.
Shortly before I turned 37 and my older daughter turned 3, I was diagnosed with breast cancer: stage III of IV.
It's clear to you immediately that you can have anything you want when you have cancer.
Moms in fiction and memoir get a bad rap.
Growing up, I saw my mother cry exactly once. The morning of her brother's funeral. One long tear ran down her cheek through her make up until she caught it near her mouth and patted it dry with a tissue she pulled from inside her sleeve.
I almost threw up the first time I set foot inside the University of California, San Francisco's Comprehensive Care Center and joined the stream of thin, slow-moving, low-voiced, gray-skinned people. I didn't want to be one of the pitied, the struck-down.
It's funny, I'd rather be known as a writer who crafted a really nice piece about women's friendships over time. But that doesn't roll off the tongue like 'YouTube sensation.'
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