Sunday, September 26, 2010

Up and away

The last three installments in My Life According to Up:

At 42: After years of fertility treatments, Other and I had a daughter when I was 40, roughly a decade after the the birth of our son. The goal of the second child's being a playmate of the first was foiled by the 10-year age gap. Instead, the second child has, in effect, three parents. I am exhausted from working overnights closing the international edition of the newsmagazine, but I am ecstatic about Motherhood 2.0. This time breastfeeding went well, even when I went back to work after a yearlong maternity leave, and the baby didn't starve. And my job is interesting. I write a weekly column, Talk of the Streets, on tabloid stories from around the world, and it's fun!

At 49: I'm now working for the domestic edition of the newsmagazine, writing longer stories on education, social issues, even business, traveling occasionally for reporting. From the outside, I seem successful. Inside, I'm exhausted. Having it all is wonderful, but I'm too tired to enjoy it.

At 56: I requested a transfer from the reporting staff to the copy desk when I was 51, thinking I'd return to writing after I had a chance to rest up. But at 56, I'm still at the copy desk, and I don't anticipate reviving my writing career. I am in the last stages of treatment for breast cancer, which resulted in a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, a year of Herceptin infusions. I am old beyond my years: scant gray hair, spavined chest, arthritis. I'm alive! But I don't want to resume the stress that I believe was a factor in my illness.

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