Let me just say this at the outset…this post is going to be very short, sweet and is for the lay-tees…my girlfriends…my seestahs.  Now fellas, don’t get me wrong, you are more than welcome to read along, but I can assure you that it is NOT going to be pretty and there certainly isn’t going to be a lot in its content that will resonate with you…at least I don’t think so.

So, here goes nothing or something depending on how you look at it.  I’m turning 51 in a few days…8 to be exact…and I can officially say with absolute certainty, that this is the year my butt dropped. (Oh my God…did she just write what I think she did? )   I was enjoying the blissful ignorance of not knowing this wonderful truth about my body, until I took my daughter and three of her thirteen year old friends to the SC coast for Labor Day Weekend.  Helen, in her completely context-free, non-judgemental way informed me, just as we were about to head out to the beach,  that my backside was having a difficult time staying tucked into the confines of my swim suit.

“Um, Mom…you might want to see if you can tuck that (she gestures nonchalantly to my backside) back into your suit.”

“What? Is my bathing suit tag stickin’ out?” I ask, not yet aware of this dismal  and universally-known-to all-womankind truth.

“Uh…no Mom. ” Helen is my drama queen.  Born with a tiara and boa, the girl, in her queen-like fashion gestures again…this time with an interesting dismissal-kind-of-ta-ta-for-now-hand movement and a look on her face like she just licked the sour interior of a lemon.


I peered around as best I could, which was pretty darn good, thanks to the infinite number of hours I’ve spent twisting in yoga and took a gander.

And I’ll be darned.  There it was…my dropped butt.

Now if the thought of this is repulsive, scary or downright TMI…then you either are in a serious case of denial about aging or you are in your 20’s and just can’t believe that something as atrocious as this could ever occur.  But I’m here to tell you, that it really is just a fact of life and that  no amount of working out with Hanz, yoga with your guru “Shakti,” unconditional love through subliminal tapes, group therapy or intense visualization during meditation can stop butt droppage. (It’s not like I’ve tried any of these, of course.) I guess I could opt in for some kind of derriere implants, but the way I see it…my body is literally traveling toward its grave…and as hard as I fight the inevitable effects of this process…it will eventually win. I mean we are going to die…at least our bodies are.

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.  Admittedly, I don’t have the average body of a 51 year old.  I don’t drink or smoke.  I get as much sleep as is possible with two teenagers living in my house and that “ain’t” saying a lot, and I eat moderate amounts of everything…including chocolate, cheese and chips…so the years of self-care and love have paid off for sure. But growing older also includes getting an older body and well…I’ve simply decided that having a sense of humor about the whole process is a really good approach to take and seems to work in deflecting some of the fear I have about becoming invisible in a youth-obsessed, wrinkle-free, perky-boob culture.

Speaking of perky-boobs. I could go into a lengthy diatribe on my breasts, but that is getting a bit too close for comfort.   I’m embarrassed to tell you the immense amount of brain energy I’ve wasted worrying about those precious body parts and the ginormous sums of money I’ve spent over the years, on acoutrements that lift them up, flatten them out, cover them up and uncover them just enough.

When I was in sixth grade, I prayed that God would give me breasts and then when I got them, I wished they would go away.  When I started running, they magically did go away and then I wished I had them back again.  I have a more intense on and off again relationship with my breasts than I ever did with any man.

Years ago, when my daughter Helen and I were walking into her elementary school…I swear she couldn’t have been much older than 7… a new student teacher was walking quite perkily, if you know what I mean,  right in front of us.

Wanting to insure my daughter is as comfortable in her skin as I attempt to be (note the word attempt), I decided in all my mother-wisdom to use this as one of those enriching, deep, provocative, p0ignant, teachable moments.  “Wow, Helen.  I know you find this hard to believe but mine used to look a little something like that.  But now, well now, after years of all that heavy lifting, hard work and living life to its fullest, they just joyfully hang.”

Helen, without skipping a beat..I mean not even ONE beat, stated, in that context-free, completely factual way that 7 years old do because they just don’t know any different, “Mom.  Your breasts don’t hang.  They swing.”

Ouch…double ouch.  All I could hear, as I bid her farewell in what felt like some kind of suspended, out of body, slow-motion experience, was a soulful rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

But the truth is, with all this dropping, drooping, swinging and hanging going on, I remain amazingly happy.  I can still run fast and alot, ride my bike a long way and practice yoga for an hour and a half.  I can enjoy a huge banana split when I want to, hang out with 8 year olds and still be called cool, dance in my living room and wear a bikini, not because I care if it looks great, but because I want to.

I can also celebrate my body, admire with wonder, memory and love the remnants of joy, displayed across its landscape.  There…see?   The beautiful softness from the babies it has birthed and over there, yes, that’s right…the now less than plush paths it has blazed, from the children it has nourished. I can float through a room and feel perfectly comfortable in my skin because I know it’s all mine–no artificial ingredients, no additions, no lifts, tucks or snips.  What you see is what you get and when we get down to brass tacks, having as little to distract me from sharing the real me with the real you is all I’ve ever wanted in life anyway.

The eyes say it all. Me with my daughter Helen.

So…the way I see it, the alternative of not growing older would pretty much stink, and so…I think I’ll just whistle along with all that swinging, dropping, drifting, hanging, drooping, dangling, falling, flagging, leaning, lolling, lopping, sagging, settling, sinking, slinging, slouching, slumping, wilting, and withering.

Dead butt or dropping butt?  I’ll take the dropping one any day.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin’ for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan,
And WHAT did I see,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
A band of angels comin’ after me,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

If you get there before I do,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I’m comin’ too,
Comin’ for to carry me home.