35 = 4

Today, I had to call my new health insurance company to talk about coverage. The first lady I talked to was clueless, so I called back and got a great rep who knew her stuff. She talked me through some basics:

-the giant deductible plan we’ve chosen
-which lab I can use for blood draws (the real reason I called)
-each of us have an annual physical that is completely covered
-oh, and, by the way, Mrs. Diehl, now that you’re 35, you qualify for a completely-covered mammogram as a baseline. Use that anytime between now and 39.


So apparently, I’m going to go get a mammogram. And yes, I’ll blog about it. (I immediately thought of my friend Aimee, and this blog post.)

I’ve gotta admit, though, that this was a teensy bit off my radar, and somehow snuck up on me.

So yeah, I’m 35.

I spent the day in my pjs until 10am, and then ran a couple of errands with the boys, enjoyed Tropical Sno for lunch (for real…we ate ice for lunch), took a swim in the neighborhood pool, and met Matt for dinner at Oishi, a Japanese steakhouse/hibachi grill.

Matt and I had been to Oishi before, but the boys had never been there or anywhere like it. Jack Henry was not so sure about the whole experience, but the older two boys loved it. From our entertaining chef to the food, they were fans, especially the part of the meal where the chef flipped a little piece of chicken off his spatula and into their mouths!

I did momentarily think I was going to have to do the Heimlich manuever on Luke when he caught the chicken and it went straight to his throat. He immediately choked it up himself, thankfully, and was smiling about how cool dinner was. Phew. Highlight of the evening for me: watching all three of my kids eat SALAD at the start of dinner…I mean, even a year ago, this would have been completely out of the question. Knowing that their dad likes it, they even all tried shrimp (all seafood is gross to me, and none of them liked it either, but I was proud of them for trying!) and Bennett scarfed his fried rice down, which was a first. Go, Diehl boys!

yum! salad!

this is the most he smiled the whole time. too much fire on the grill for him, i think.

fire! luke loved this part.

they sang happy birthday to me, and brought out chocolate lava cake.


So all in all, a good, good day.

But that brings me to the title of this post.

Tomorrow marks 4 years since my mom died. Just 2 days after my 31st birthday, her 4-year battle with cancer ended. I don’t have anything new to say on this anniversary vs. the past 3…it’s not easier, and it’s not harder…it just is. A fact of life, a part of who we are now.

About a month ago, at bedtime, Jack Henry BURST into tears. It was shortly after his Nana blanket was returned to him, but enough past him getting it that we weren’t really talking about it anymore. He laid there sobbing (this was no fake-cry-to-delay-bedtime), unable to tell me what was wrong. When he caught his breath, he said, “I’ll never get to meet Nana. I’ll never know her.”

Enter total heartbreak for me. Complete. On the list of things that makes me incredibly sad, this tops it. And him having some understanding of that? No words, really.

I sat and cried with him, and told him that he was right…here on Earth, he’ll never get to know her, and that’s really, really sad. Bennett (who was in the room with me, and crawled out of his bunk bed to be a part of this sob-fest with us) and I told him that we’d always tell him about what Nana had been like, and that he was lucky to still get time with his Papa and his Papa Ron and Nana Jo. And that someday, he WILL meet his Nana in heaven.

That brings me to this…


I am incredibly thankful for another year. For the milestone(??) of 35, and all it brings (I’m talking to you, mammogram). These wrinkles and sunspots that I sometimes wish weren’t a part of my face, and that somehow accumulate despite my constant daily SPF, are a fine reminder of another summer well-spent with people I love in places I love.

Here’s to the privilege of another year.

9 responses to “35 = 4

  1. The mammogram is more awkward than anything. I had my first this past year due to family history of breast cancer. If having that awkward baseline test done so it may save our lives later…it is TOTALLY WORTH IT!

  2. Lora McQuality

    Yes, awkward is definitely the word! Please do not let people scare you like I did. I put off having one til I was 42 and then only because my Ob/gyn doctor threatened to make an appointment for me. I,being rather well endowed, was sure it would be very painful. NO PAIN invoved at all!! I left chastising myself for being such a chicken!!

  3. Thanks for the link up to the Mammo-grama post, Nicole. I love the photo in that one. Good to have a baseline done now while you’re still young. Yes, you’re still young!

    Death anniversaries stink. We just passed mom’s 16th. Like you said, it’s not easier or harder. It just is. I hate that this one comes so close to your birthday. Go easy on yourself. Grief is hard enough all by itself.

    Happy Birthday again. Love, Aimee

  4. I so seriously do not think mammos are a big deal. While I hate to have them, it’s simply b/c they’re awkward (yes, that’s the word) to stand there & do. Just all so embarrassing. NEVER have I thought the whole thing was painful. The 1st time I had one, I was in total shock to recall reading about some women who’d rather go through labor!!! Still can’t believe that!

    I was NOT prepared to read about Jack Henry’s meltdown about never knowing your mom. Tears came so fast! I think after many years, I grew used to the fact that my kids never knew either of my parents, but when I started going through that reminder with each of my grandkids, it has brought the grief back again, frequently & painfully in the past 10 years.

  5. I’m pretty freaked out to have my mammies grammed. The ultrasound type ones are totally fine with me :/.
    Hooray for Oishi! I’m guessing you didn’t get the sushi haha!

    Oh my, Jack Henry. It’s amazing that he can realize that loss at such a young age. I was crying so hard about what JH said, that Carter asked me 3 times if I was ok. I think about that all the time, knowing my kids will never get the chance to know her and her beautiful heart. I hope through our stories and memories all her grandkids will get the chance to know what she was really like.

  6. *tear* sweet, sweet boys you have!

  7. Two months till I turn 35. Thanks for the warning – I wasn’t expecting that. Happy Birthday! Glad you had such a fun dinner date. Every day I’m reminded to call my mom and tell her I love her – it’s because friends my age are already losing theirs. Good job teaching your boys that you will see her again.

  8. Oh! We had a Mass said for your Mom on Saturday. I thought I was past the tears but when Jack Henry said that, I realized it was like you said–not easier, not harder, just… More so for you. You are keeping her beautiful memory alive for your boys and as I have said so many times, she is looking down lovingly on all of you. And I ask her to pray for all of you and for us, too. Happy 35th, Nicole!

  9. Oh my goodness Nicole. Thanks for sharing your heart but oh I’m crying so. 😦

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