I just want to do it right. I think I want to do it right so bad that I’m doing it wrong. It’s a horrible feeling and I’m about to lose it because I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’ve talked about my Mom before; a little. We have a great relationship…. Now. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgiven her for her lack of judgment as I was growing up. I think this is why we have a better relationship now. It’s because I know better & want her to know that I’m going to do better for my daughter.
I don’t have sisters but I do have a whole mess of brothers. Any knowledge I had growing up about what happens to a girl’s body is from random conversations with friends or overhearing adults talk to each other about. In fact, I didn’t know what a “pad” was until I saw a TV commercial about it. Real nice Mom! I distinctly remember asking my Dad if our dog was having a period because she pooped blood one time. The look on his face was mortifying & he asked how I even knew what that was. I was in 4th grade. I remember one of my friends telling me her older sister just got her period. I didn’t know what it was & she told me it’s when you pee & poop blood. So naturally I thought this happened to all females, dogs included and therefore offered the suggestion to my father as he was trying to figure out what was wrong with the family dog. Of course, he never explained to me that our spayed dog would not have a period nor did he tell me to go talk to my mother about such an event. He was satisfied with my explanation of where I got my facts from & went on like nothing was wrong. Perhaps that would have been an excellent time for him to send me to my mother for an explanation on “my growing body”.
Also in 4th grade I got my first “love letter” from a boy. I was horrified at what this meant. Of course I hid it from everyone I knew. When I failed to respond to his questions of “going out”, he told a few people and of course they teased us both. He made a few attempts after to get me to go out with him but I was too embarrassed by the fact that everyone already knew I didn’t know what to do. Naturally I started to “hate” him for embarrassing me & spent months feeling like a fool. He got over it and I did too…. Only it took me years to forget it.
In 5th grade I started to blossom. I was, once again, horrified at what was happening to me. I was growing these things off of my chest but no one else was. None of my friends had “boobs” yet; why was I the special child to get these suckers first??? I requested all new shirts; big baggy shirts to hide these things from EVERYONE. At this point, you would think that my own mother would realize that I started to get these things and maybe, perhaps offer to buy me a bra. No. She got me bigger shirts as per my request. I still remember the day the first boy noticed that I had boobs. OMG it was horrible and I begged my Mom to pick me up from school because I was sick. Thankfully a teacher overheard him teasing me & the problem was solved. At some point that year I was a friend’s house for a sleep over. She had 2 older sisters and they were all very close. As we were getting ready for bed, I realized she had a bra! I was so damn excited because now I wasn’t the only girl in the class with boobs. Problem…. She didn’t have boobs yet, but her sisters & Mom all went shopping to get her training bra’s to start wearing as she was most likely going to develop some soon. What did I do? I stole one of her bras. She had like 10 and no boobs. I had none and what I thought at the time, a huge rack. I put it in my bag and never said a word. I’m sure she probably would have given me one if I would have asked! At any rate, once I got home I put that sucker on right away & it was heaven. I couldn’t believe I actually had my first bra!! Hot as it was, I didn’t care! They shaped me like a person & now I could wear my normal shirts. Miraculously, one week later, my Mom took me and a friend shopping and my friend helped me pick out my own. Of course my Mom couldn’t help me because she was too embarrassed. So my friend (a year older, larger & already developed) walked me through the lingerie department & we picked out my first 2 bras. AWESOME!
Fifth grade was also the year I got my first period. It was before we had “the talk” at school. It was New Year’s Eve & we had friends over to help celebrate. The kids all stayed home together and the adults ate dinner & hit the local bars for some drinks & party hats. I was wearing light tan colored leggings and a long shirt. I went to the bathroom and what the heck was this?? I had no idea. I thought it would just go away. I finished my business & walked out of the bathroom. An hour later I was a mess. My Mom saw it right before I ran to the bathroom…. the only conversation we had about what was happening was she asked me “if I had any mess in my underwear” to which I replied “no” because I was incredibly embarrassed by this. I nervously balled up as much toilet paper as I could, washed myself up and went on my way to change pants. She never said another word about it and neither did I. I had NO idea what was happening but I knew that whatever it was, wasn’t good. We both went on our merry way for the rest of the night. The next day was a normal day for everyone, new year, new beginnings and I was a “new” girl. I started to think about what was happening and suddenly realized that this is what my friend was talking about. This is what her older sister had and now I had it. I busted into my Mom’s “stash” & hid all evidence of what was going on. No words were spoken about it and I threw away the “messed” pants and underwear so no one would know. A few days later a package appeared on my bed. It was a pack of “teen” Always Pads. I hid them in my dresser and we never talked about them again. When I started to get low, I panicked. The thought of having to raid my Mom’s stash again went through my mind because she was certain to know. But once again, a few months later, another package emerged and I was safe. This went on for a while until we had “the talk” in school about how to use tampons. I forever raided my mother’s stash after that & she just kept on buying like normal.
Also during that year I got a few more letters from boys and I decided maybe they weren’t so bad after all. I secretly “dated” a few boys & had crushes on lots more. None of this information was shared with anyone. It’s just not something you talk about… or is it?
I have WAY more to write about this but I’m going to stop here and continue another day before this gets too long. I’ve spent all of these years with this bottled up inside of me. I confided in a good friend recently about this distant relationship with my mother and she can’t believe it. My friend has a “tween” daughter and they are very close and can talk about anything. I sooooooo very, very much want that relationship with my daughter that I’m pretty sure I’m pushing her away in trying to do so. She is me to a tee. She is every part of me that I remember growing up. She’s very private about a lot of things and she is never the first to say if anything is wrong or out of the ordinary. Most of all, she’s afraid to speak up for herself and to defend herself…. JUST LIKE I WAS. And it sucks. How do I change this? How to do I get her to trust me enough to ask me what she wants to know? I have always answered her questions about her body, her image and everything as openly and honestly as I can. I don’t sugar coat items and I don’t make a big deal about her little mind wondering why her bottom looks different then her brother’s. Or why I wear a bra & daddy doesn’t. I want to cry when I think about her growing up & having no one to talk to about what it means to grow up. It’s a horrible feeling.
To be continued……