I am truly amazed and grateful, even humbled by your kind, warm words. I am comforted by your thoughts and the stories that you have shared with me. I am touched to no end that many of you have reached out to me via email, sharing similar and very personal stories. I don't feel alone in my thoughts and worries, and for that I have you all to thank for. Truly thank for.

I stumbled in to this blogging world a couple of years ago quite by chance. I used this blog to showcase my children to my family and close friends. Then, quite suddenly, the purpose of my blog changed and became less about showing off my kids and more about telling it like it is. My family doesn't read this anymore. (They get their own pictures!) And sometimes, when you don't really know someone, when you can hide behind a screen, you can be bolder, more daring and adventurous... you can share thoughts and feelings with people you might not ordinarily open up to.

I wouldn't say I am a shy person. But private, yes. Writing has always been a passion of mine. The written word comes more easily to me than the spoken word. I don't stammer and hem and haw. I pour it out. And I edit. But truth be told these days I edit less for content's sake then for grammar's sake. In college it pained me to have to hand my papers in. I felt as though I was exposing myself. I felt naked and raw and terribly, terribly uncomfortable. The feedback was always good and positive, but still I would have preferred to have written and not hand in my assignments. It had a lot to do with self esteem and the way I saw myself. Always too hard. Always too critical. And like most women, never happy.

After college I took a few writing courses at Sarah Lawrence College. It's a fabulous school and I was interested in pursuing an MFA in creative writing. I enjoyed my course, my instructor and in the end I was pleased with my writing and the end result. Yet I was too uncomfortable revealing so much of myself. I quit. A regret I will always carry with me. My own self doubt has caused me to quit too many things. I'm still struggling with this.

And now I have this blog and a group of you I feel are my friends though we have never met. (And a few of you whom I have met and feel blessed to consider as my friends.) And I have been open and honest and candid. And I have exposed myself. Wholly and fully. In fact there is not much I have not discussed. And it is getting easier.

But the issues I have now still are the same ones that have plagued me since I was a teenager. I'm stronger, wiser, more self assured and more secure with myself, my thoughts and actions, but I remain the critic and I remain dissatisfied. I am confident and I am insecure. I'm not vain. And I am terribly vain.

I struggled a lot today. I worried more than I thought I would. I kept busy and tried to keep my mind occupied, but then my mind would wander over to the dark side. The unknown. The scary. And I asked myself a question. I asked myself what scared me the most. I didn't have an answer.

Tonight I was getting ready for bed. Alexander was watching TV in my room so I went in to the bathroom to change. As I was getting undressed I caught sight of myself in the mirror. Normally I would turn around so as not to see myself, but tonight I did something I never do.

I stared at myself in front of the mirror. Okay, I know I do this all the time... trying on clothes... checking out what I like best and what I don't like... what fits well and what is flattering and what is not. For me it's all about creating an illusion and well, a bit of camouflaging, but tonight it wasn't.

Tonight was real and exposed. Just me and my mirror. No clothes. No Spanx to flatten little bulges. No nothing. I stared at my thighs, wider than I would like but certainly not as offensive as I would normally say they are. Then my eyes wandered up to my belly. I have always hated my stomach. Have never been blessed with a washboard. After three pregnancies and three births my lower abdomen is stretchy and saggy and not pretty. And I am not going to pretend it's not as bad as I am seeing it. Because it is. But luckily no one ever has to see it!

Then my eyes go upwards. And I am forced to stare at reality. My breasts. I've never liked them. As a teenager I felt awkward and unsightly. They made me feel uncomfortable. My boyfriends never had any issues with them but I had plenty. They made me look and feel larger than I was. They got in the way. They got in the way of everything. I would have done anything not to have had them.

The same two breasts are with me now all these years later. Just as big, just as fibrous and a good bit saggier. These two breasts... it was as though I was looking at them, seeing them for the very first time. These two breasts weren't terrible. Or hideous. Or anything of that nature. In fact they were quite lovely. Imagine that! Imagine after all these years of discomfort and angst that I finally come to peace with myself. I stared at myself for a good while. I wondered, had I done this sooner, 20 years sooner, would I have seen what I see now? Had I stared at myself, raw and naked in front of a mirror would I have liked what I had seen?

I'm not so sure, but I would have to say that probably not. I see many things differently now. This is due, I am certain, to age and having children. And my breasts fed my children. All three of them.

As I looked at them in the mirror over the sink I wondered, what does a sick breast look like? Because these two look the same. Look healthy. The spot in question is not visible to the naked eye, but buried in layers down deep. Right now everything remains the same. Sort of. Time will tell. Tomorrow will tell.

Meantime, I've learned something. I've gained something. I learned that I'm just fine the way I am. I do not look disfigured or freakish. And while I will remain happier in a little cover up at the beach, I have learned that, after that long unpleasant and uncomfortable stare in my bathroom mirror, I'm not half bad. And my breasts... well, they're kinda nice and I'll not complain about them and am proud to have them. (Hey some people pay big bucks for these things and mine were free!)

Thank you all... you mean the world to me!