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Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Most girls are told that when they begin their periods, they are becoming a woman.  After school specials and Kotex ads depict this as an amazing time in a girl’s life.  As girls, some of us are super excited to start and are jealous of our friends who “get” theirs before we do.  Some girls are scared.  I was apathetic.  It just seemed like another inconvenience to suffer through along with the damnable bras. My gramma always like to be prepared, and as a child of the Depression, she tended to prepare for the worst.

When I turned 11 or 12, Gramma sat me down and said, “Kim, you’ll be starting your period soon, so we should probably buy a few things to be ready”.  So, we did.  She bought a pack of GIANT Kotex and showed me how to peel the paper off, put them in my undies, and how to dispose of them properly.  We discussed other aspects of feminine hygiene, what to do if I spotted my underwear or pants.  All the stuff you love discussing with your parents.

At the same time, I somehow came into possession of a wooden trunk.  I think her brother got it at an auction or something and let me know have it.  I spent HOURS getting this trunk to look the way I wanted it to.  Painted it a minty green.  Bought contact paper with little flowers on it to put on the raised wooden edges.  Ok, this next part is weird, and I don’t know why I did it or thought it would look good, but I got a BUNCH of Food Town bumper stickers (this was before it became Food Lion) that were blue and yellow, like BRIGHT ASS blue and yellow. There was some slogan that was put into an anagram, so it was just a string of letters.  I completely covered the inside lid of the chest with those.  I thought it was so fucking cool.  Only the good Lord knows where I got that idea from.  So, I called this my Hope Chest.  I had read some book about a girl with a hope chest full of all of these things she’d need to carry her forward into adulthood.  VERY EXCITED about my Hope Chest.  I put a couple of things in it that I would obviously need as an adult one day: a rainbow candle – half melted, a couple of plates Gramma was getting rid of, and a like a can of soup or something –obvious necessities. This was not the first time I had done this – prepared for the future. I used to lug around and old suitcase full of my important treasures of the times: Tiger Beat mags, a Shaun Cassidy 45 of Da Doo Run Run, a lot of paper and pens, some Judy Blume books, a can of soup and a can opener, as well as other items of obvious import.

OK, you needed that back story to get to this part of the story.  We didn’t have a car growing up; I might have mentioned that in other blogs, so we walked or took public transportation everywhere.  We did most of our grocery shopping at Winn Dixie and Food Town (duh). I mentioned how my grandmother liked to be prepared and was a bit of a stockpiler/prepper before it was the Republican Rage.  After we had THE TALK, each and every time we went to the grocery store for our weekly shopping, Gramma would buy some sort of feminine product.  I mean I had them all: light, heavy, super, liners, with things, every brand – “So you can decide which you like best”.

 Me: “I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna like any of this”. 

“Watch the smart mouth”

One day she came in my room and there was just a pile of seven or eight packs on the floor by my closet. “Put those away.  They shouldn’t just be all over the place.”

“There’s no room in the bathroom,” I informed her.

“Well stick them in that hope chest of yours,” she ordered.

I sucked in my breath a little louder than I thought.  That was my treasure, my vessel for all my grown up treasures!  I didn’t want to put stupid PADS in there!   My gramma didn’t suggest. This was a directive as expected to be followed as if she were the commander in a field of battle.   So I mutter a yes ma’am and she left the room.  Well I didn’t do it. I decided I was going to pretend to forget.  That didn’t work.  Gramma just went in my room when she bought the next batch and put them all in there.  I would not have DREAMED of taking them out.  So, as the weeks went by the chest got full.  To this day, I am 100% certain that the cashiers of the Winn Dixie thought I had some life threatening uterine condition that required me to wear 50 pads a week.  Finally, one day she decided our pad levels were acceptable and slowed down buying them.  How many did we have you may be asking yourself.  Enough.  Just enough.

Lo and Behold, I’m in 7th grade, and one night I go to bed with a “stomach ache”.  I mean, I had no idea what menstrual cramps felt like, so I had no idea this was the start of “being a woman” ( cute butterflies and summer meadows with some flute music).  That morning when I woke up and saw a red spot, I put on clean undies, stuck one of those pads in, rinsed out the undies and tossed them in the dryer.  I continued this process as you do. I didn’t tell anyone.  Why did I need to?  Gramma had explained everything. I had 7,239,672 packs of pads, and I did my own laundry. 

Finally, one day I ran out of pads.  I went to Gramma and told her that she needed to add pads to the grocery list. “Why?” she asked.

“Because I am out”

“WHAT?!  How the hell are you out?  What did you do with all of those pads?” She yelled.  I can see she was getting mad at me.  I couldn’t figure it out.

“I used them?” I asked more than answered.

“On what?”

“For my period!”

“Jesus Christ, you had enough to last forever!” 

Well, it turns out I only had enough to last about 8 months, because that’s about how long I had been on period and never told her.  She was stunned that I never said anything.  “Aw, Kimmy, why didn’t you tell me? I ‘m so sorry.  I would have helped you!”

“Help me with what?  You told me what it was. I had all those pads.  I was fine. I might need some new underwear, though.” 

Today, I too am a preparer and a planner, a stockpiler of all sorts.  THE HOBB (my gramma) trained me to be prepared and self-sufficient.  Sometimes I am little too independent, a little too unlikely to ask for help or appear needy, but I can take care of myself and others thanks to those skills.

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