My daughter Julie has been monitored for melanoma since she was 4, and we watched her many moles change before our eyes. She sees eye specialists, retina specialists and melanoma specialists three to four times a year. When she was in elementary and middle school, we watched her endure painful excisions and anxiety. I hated to see her so afraid, so I scheduled one appointment early in the day, and made plans to shop at the old Rainforest Cafe at Tysons and eat. After some major retail therapy, she turned to me with tears in her eyes and thanked me with a hug. Now, even though she is 27, I go with her to every appointment. We plan lunch and shopping or a museum visit. Possible cancer diagnosis has turned into a cherished day. The tradition keeps the worry away.

Laura Jones,


I once saw actress Cybil Shepherd on TV, saying that on her birthday, she sent flowers to her mama, who did all the work the day she was born! I told my daughter, Michelle, then in high school. On her birthday that year, I got an arrangement from her. Years later, she still sends flowers on her birthday to celebrate the day “I did all the work!”

Sandy Schwalb,

Front Royal

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