This past winter, I was sidelined slightly by a minor surgery that left me unable to do any strenuous activity for a few weeks. So when Mother Nature decided that would be the perfect time to dump a foot of snow on my corner lot every three days, I reached out to one of my friends, who happens to be my neighbor and also happens to have two young sons who were up to the task.
The first time they came over to tackle the wintry mess, I answered the door still in my pajamas and quite exhausted.
“How are you feeling?” was the first question from the 12-year-old, possibly the most empathetic kid I’ve ever met.
I said I was doing okay and gave them a few quick instructions. I then watched through the kitchen window as they dove in with the energy of youth but absolutely no efficient plan of attack, taking a break halfway through to both draw in the snow and eat it.
When they were finished, I invited them in for hot chocolate and cookies right before dinner, because I’m a responsible adult.
As they sipped their cocoa, I could tell the 12-year-old was mulling something over.
“So . . . what exactly did you have surgery on?” he finally ventured, and then thought better of it. “Unless it’s too personal.”
“Well,” I said, not quite knowing how to broach the somewhat delicate subject of a benign papilloma in a breast duct, “To be honest, it is a little hard to explain.”
He nodded with the wisdom of the oldest sages. “It’s too personal.”
Another minute passed, during which more cocoa disappeared and his mind was still working overtime.
“But . . . if you had to say what area of your body you had surgery on, what would it be?”
At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting out of this conversation. So I told him that the general area was my chest. This seemed to satisfy his curiosity, and I sent them on their way shortly after.
Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t think they could handle the information. After all, they’re the kids I inadvertently taught about the concept of “sideboob.”
“Sickboob” probably wouldn’t have been too much of a leap.