Friday, March 21, 2014

go with the flo

Big moments in our stepchildrens' lives happen when we least expect them. Sometimes they occur at school. Or at a friend's house. Or when they're with Mama Ex. It's a part of life. For me, those moments almost always happen when the kids aren't with us at our home. After all, we only have them 35% of the time. It would only make sense that the majority of "the biggies" are more likely to occur when they're with their mother. It's tough, but Hubs and I understand that that's the way the broken family ball bounces (not that we're really a broken family, I just enjoyed that iteration). We roll with it and move on.

Occasionally though, the pendulum swings our way. Hubs was the one who taught T to ride a bike without training wheels. I taught M how to roller skate. Sure, these aren't the hugest of happenings, but we take what we can get. Two weeks ago, though, we landed a monster unexpected life moment at our home.

Aunt Flo came to visit M for the first time. 

And Hubs wasn't home.

But I was.

I'm making it sound much more dramatic than it was. In all honesty, it was pretty chill. M came to me and told me she thought she had begun her period. After a few clarifying questions, we decided she had indeed begun that wonderful life gift of menstration.

The kid has already had about 485 classes on her period since 2nd grade began, so she wasn't overly upset or scared. She was more annoyed than anything else - and boy can I empathize with that. I decided not to make a huge deal out of it by pulling out my hair, throwing a bible at her womb and screaming "AND THE FIRST SIN WAS INTERCOURSE."

Instead,I told her I'd be back and ran to Target. I purchased a few essentials like pads, some black underwear, Ibuprofen...and of course a Carmel Machiatto from Starbucks. 

(Can we just talk for a minute about how adorable the packaging for pads is for teens nowdays? When I met Aunt Flo, all I had available to me were gigantic cotton pillows in huge, bright white plastic crinkle wrappings that basically shouted from the rooftops "LOOK! I'M BLEEEEDING!!" Remember trying to hide those suckers in your pocket on the way to the bathroom? Not so much.) 

When I returned home, I had a quick convo with M, explaining how to use the pads, and that she should mark in her calendar about 28-30 days from now that Flo would be back. And then 28 days after that. And after that. And after that. Forever and for all eternity until she's old and withered. I explained cramping, how to properly dispose of a pad (wrap it up...please) and how to keep "her area" clean and smelling like a daisy instead of a rotten salmon factory. All was well and good.

And then I decided it was time to let Mama Ex know. Aren't I nice? I mean, I could've been a real dick about it and just let M tell her. But come on, this is her daughter and she just had a huge life moment - I'd want to know if she were my kid.

So I sent a laid back text to Mama Ex, informing her that M had begun the monthly crazy train cycle. I didn't go into too much detail, just let her know I bought some essentials for M to bring home, and that she didn't freak out too badly.

And this is what came back:

I've already talked with her about it so I'm sure she wasn't freaked out. We knew it was going to be coming this week. I will be there at 6 to get the girls.

I need to go ahead and employ Mama Ex right now as a fortune teller. She KNEW WHEN HER DAUGHTER'S FIRST PERIOD WAS COMING. Who wouldn't pay $5,000 to know that? I think I have found my meal ticket to retirement.

I'm not going to lie. Her text hurt a little bit. It basically said, "you are a non-issue at this point. You are a stand in until I get there." Which okay, yeah, I sort of am. I'm not M's mom. But she needn't remind me of that. (Like I could ever forget, anyway.) I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe the same level of respect I give her when she tells us about a life moment with the kids we missed? Maybe a, "Darn, wish I'd have been there, but thanks for getting her the stuff she needs. I'm glad she was with someone she knows when it happened." Is that asking a lot?

By the same token, I understand what she was doing. Mama Ex's daughter was with another woman (whom Mama Ex is occasionally threatened by) when one of the biggest moments in a her life happened. Of course Mama Ex is going to try and make it sound like old news. I know it's bogus and M knows its bogus. But it's a maneuver to make Mama Ex still feel like she's in control.

I didn't goat the issue further or repeat what Mama Ex said back to M. She doesn't need to know. She's got enough on her plate with her new monthly reminder that she has a uterus. In the end, I'm glad it happened here. I'm glad I could be here for my stepdaughter and help her through a weird and funky experience. And that's all that should matter.

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