Thursday, June 19, 2014

Talking about something personal today

Have you seen this great ad for a new product targeted to tween girls? Bravo. Funny and sweet and effective marketing. But it also makes me think of when I had my "first moon". It's maybe a funny thing to talk about as it's an intimate subject. But, about half the people in the world deal with the exact same thing! And while of course it's an important milestone in a young woman's life, I'm realizing that it's an important parenting milestone too.

While I'm sure my mom did talk to me about this aspect of womanhood, the lesson I remember on the subject was actually the one done at my elementary school. I think I was in 4th grade and I was invited to school for a special evening "sex-ed" class. I don't even remember if my mom was there with me or not but it was an all-girl class (I assume the boys had a similar one) and the part that stayed with me was learning about how to use tampons. They seemed like such an extreme thing! I was interested and a little scared by them. It was a memorable and I have to admit valuable lesson.

I can't remember exactly how old I was when I got my period. Maybe 12 or 13? I didn't feel like I was late or early so either my friends didn't talk about it or I was average to my peer group. But, unfortunately my parents were separated at the time. My mom was out of the country on her first trip with her boyfriend and I was home with my dad and my little brother. Luckily, my dad and I were very close and so I didn't mind telling what was going on and asking him to help me get supplies. But, that was about it. I got what I needed to deal and that was my entrance into "womanhood". It was uneventful.

When my mom did get back from her trip I actually didn't want to tell her what happened. I think I was angry with her for not being there for this very feminine event in my life and I just didn't know how to engage that. I believe I wanted to punish her by keeping it from her. I don't remember how it came out but I recall we were driving in the car probably to pick up my brother from somewhere and I just couldn't avoid telling her. She was very excited and supportive but I think she felt that I was upset about the circumstances and that made her feel guilty. She said we'd celebrate by having some quality mother-daughter time and drinking some red wine. I don't know if that ever happened or not. If it did, obviously it wasn't something that felt meaningful.

My first moon was sort of lonely and isolated. I appreciate my dad being there and rolling with it. But it was a solitary experience for me. I'm sot sure if that is good or bad. Since I didn't have a big sister I think it would have been nice if my mom had been there and we could have marked the milestone more and used it as a way to talk about growing up.

I know it's a intimate subject but if other people want to share their stories I'd love to hear them!

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