We had an appointment with our new family doctor yesterday, you and I. (and oh girl, I really hope that getting a doctor isn’t as exciting when you’re 35 as it is to me.) It was an intake appointment, weighing in, height, BP, history, etc. The doctor asked about current health, but also asked how school is, if the transition has been easy since moving, if you knew the birds and the bees-questions I’m not used to a doctor asking. She seemed sincerely interested.
I think I love her.
Then she got to me and I think you heard some things that perhaps you shouldn’t have, or maybe you needed to. You heard my “official” diagnosis, the one I’m not so sure of, that bipolar thing. You heard me say “I think it was a bad marriage if we’re honest” and I saw your face look strangely at me then flit around the room. You saw me react to the news that I have to get a PAP test. (The joy of no doctor is avoiding tests like that one.)
You were moody and tired and slightly cranky all day, and finally before bath, you just started crying on my shoulder.
“Why are you sad?”
“I don’t KNOW!” you howled. Puberty approaches. Puberty is rearing is cranky swingy head as everything starts changing for you. You mentioned that the PAP, and the explanation, made you uncomfortable. Comparing it to pooping in public made it better for a bit. (You know-sometimes you have to do stuff you’d rather not do because it’s best in the long run).
The fear, the sadness, I don’t think it was really about the test. I don’t think it was necessarily about hearing some truths that perhaps you could live without. I think you see your future, you saw yourself sitting where I was, and all the changes coming, and it scared the crap out of you. You’re changing so fast, growing like a weed, breasts really coming in now, and your brain is changing too, giving you an insight you didn’t realize would be coming to you.
I know it’s scary. I handled it all on my own and it’s horrid. It will still be horrid, even with your mother by your side. But it can be magical. I told you-it’s all new, and newness is equal parts awe and terror. You’re becoming a woman, step by step, slowly. And it’s truly a miracle. Your period, when it comes, signals your becoming into adulthood. I never had a chance to honour it’s magic when I was your age, and I want you to hold it, even if it’s only for a minute before the cramps come.
You’ll have to forgive me sometimes, for forgetting how strange it all is, how scary, how much you’re dealing with all at once right now. I’m trying to be present for you. I am grateful that I get to witness this.
But perhaps next time I should contain my PAP test jokes huh?