Today it happened. My little caterpillar began her official metamorphosis into a butterfly. We knew it was coming. We’ve talked about menstruation. She knew what to expect. We’ve been given different expectancies from different pediatricians but if we were going on genetics, she was right on the money.
We’ve been talking about the joys of womanhood a lot lately because I have been experiencing more than my fair share thanks to my cervical biopsy back in October. I’ve been the queen of TMI mostly because I can’t even believe this first disappearing and now, never stopping menstruation of mine. You’d think it was the last one that I’m ever having for all my life. It’s a freaking mass exodus. 3 months worth of uterine lining is.the.worst!
While I’m slipping headlong into the end of my days as a butterfly, my girl is slowly evolving into the most majestic butterfly that ever did live. Recently, I’ve begun to notice the roundness of her baby Buddha has given way to a more svelte outline. Her hair which was once stick straight has begun to wave. Mine did the same thing in middle school. And her once childlike figure is slowly fading out and in its place, a young woman is emerging.
All of these things, I expected. I prepared myself and the girls for. I didn’t want this time in their life to be traumatic like it was for me. Puberty was sort of thrust upon me one summer’s day in the middle of a McDonald’s bathroom. I immediately felt like I looked different and everyone must be able to tell. The same thing happened the first time I had sex. I didn’t want that to be the experience for my girls. I didn’t want them to feel like a freak and want to run away and hide. I wanted them to see it as something beautiful. Nothing to be ashamed of but to celebrate. No, I’m not talking a party for your period, that’s a bit much for me but the cake would be divine but who the heck wants to put on something cute when you’re bloated? Not me.
I want them to embrace their femininity with both hands and be as fierce and simultaneously as soft as they want to be. I want them to love being a woman. I want being a woman to not be so hard. I want them to be strong but able to be weak when need be. I want them to be who they are unapologetically.
So today, I picked up my little girl from school and she got in the car and said, excitedly, “Guess what?” She had a little smirk on her face. “What?” I asked. I thought maybe she had some juicy 7th grade gossip or won some kind of an award. She was in a good mood.
“Mom, I got my period.”
Just like that. As blunt as anything that has ever come out of my mouth. She said it with just the faintest blush and a big smile and a tinge of pride as if she had just joined me in my secret women’s club. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really expecting it but I wasn’t not either. I just wasn’t expecting it today.
I asked how she was feeling. She said fine. In true tween fashion she “didn’t see the big deal.” Then I asked if she felt sick in her stomach or crampy and she said no, just tired. Then, I told her this was exciting and we should celebrate because it’s not every day you begin your journey into young womanhood. She smiled, then looked at me like I was slightly deranged and we all went for ice cream in December. For the record, no one looked at me like I was deranged while they were eating their blizzards.
I long ago stocked the girls’ bathroom with sanitary napkins and liners. They know about heating pads and ibuprofen for cramps, no caffeine because they exacerbate cramps, extra water to help reduce bloating and I’m installing an app on her phone tonight so she can chart her period. I used to hate surprise periods in those first few years.
She’s sleeping now. It’s 7 p.m. I told her she can ask me anything. I’m an open book. I know she knows that but I like to say it every once in awhile just to remind her. I couldn’t help kissing her on her forehead as my sweet young lady lay there in bed clutching her Fifi that she’s slept with every night since she was born. I want to freeze this moment and make it last forever but I know I can’t.
I’m happy for her, this is a milestone in a young woman’s life, and I am scared for her because I know what lies ahead. It’s hard being a woman. I want to hug her tight and hold her in my arms like a baby once more and at the same time I want to give her freedom to become who she will be.
For now, we take it day by day. We read together at night snuggled in my bed. We talk about everything and occasionally, she rolls her eyes at me but now, we share this special new bond. I am her mother and she is my daughter and now, we are both women and its one of the most beautiful moments of motherhood so far. I never expected it. We are growing closer as the baby and mother divide closes.
When we give birth, we are everything to our children and they are everything to us. We complete one another. We need one another, like air. But this new phase on our journey as mother and daughter, we grow closer as soon she will no longer need me but instead want me in her life and the choice of her choosing me, as I chose her, is truly the most beautiful thing I’ve yet experienced.
I’m going to stop writing now because as I said, I am on day 14 of my neverending period so I may be a tad bit overly emotional plus, my baby just became a woman so there’s that.
P.S. I asked my daughters permission before posting this, she said, “Hey, you’re the one who should be embarrassed talking about your bleed out. Not me. I don’t care.” So, there’s that. Like mother like daughter.