My mom, as I stated, was complex. She embodied innocence and wickedness in one package. Although Mom and Dad tried to hide it for many years, the undeniable fact that my oldest brother showed up six months after their wedding vows more than implied there was some canoodling before marriage. Not a socially welcomed outcome circa 1953. After the wedding, Mom and Dad moved to Kansas for a few years. I think the goal was to perplex the Minnesota relatives and hope Kansas people didnâ€™t count on fingers as much. Four more live births followedâ€”of which I was oneâ€”but I believe there were also numerous miscarriages. Why? What was her experience? How were her periods? How I wish I could have, or have had, some of these conversations while she was still with me. Mom passed away five years ago and so much went unspoken between us. To be honest, Iâ€™m not sure she would have shared her stories if I had asked her directly.
For example my pubescent sex â€œtalk,â€ and by talk I meanâ€¦ no talk, consisted of finding a set of four slender books on the stairs leading to my small bedroom. Each volume explained a portion of life from conception to adulthood. I think I was maybe eleven at the time. I read them, pondered the fairly clinical information with my two closest girl friends, but never felt I had an invitation to ask questions through my mom. When I finally started getting my period, Mom almost grudgingly pointed at the closet where she kept a box of pads, tossed me one of those elastic sling-thingys you hooked them onto, and that was it. No â€œWow, youâ€™re a woman now and this is what you can expect,â€ or â€œYou might want to keep track of when your periods arrive each month so youâ€™re not surprised,â€ or, â€œLet me know if youâ€™re having crampsâ€¦Iâ€™ll tell you what works for me.â€ Nope, I was left to forage in the wilds of teendom on my own. Â More about that next week!