The day my oldest daughter was born was the most exhilarating day of my life to date. Although she is not my only child, she is my first so her birth is extra memorable. I once read somewhere, “Giving birth is as close to death as you can get without dying.” It really is. Not because of the excruciating pain, but you get a peak of Heaven when you first lay eyes on a real life angel.
Now back to the pain. The pain decibel is at a level 8 out of 10, so they say. All I know is, the nurse who was wearing rings and holding my hand asked me to let go as I was in active labor because I was crushing her hand. I unsympathetically told her. “You knew what was going to happen when you came in here!”
So from my most physically painful moment, came the most beautiful creature in the world! Now, I know you ladies have beautiful children as well, but Victoria is stunning! I would not let her go for the first two weeks of her life. My mother had to peel her away from me to bathe.
I, from that first moment to this very day, refer to her as my most ‘ultimate blessing’. She was and still is perfect to me. I dressed her like a doll. She never wore the same outfit twice. She had every toy that magazines and doctors suggested. Her room was a palace. Her first birthday was so big it needed to be held in a banquet room. Spoiled? Absolutely.
Victoria, is now 12 years old and all of a pre-teen. My sweet baby girl, who I smothered with kisses, now jumps out of the car the minute I pull up to her school. If I try to kiss her in public I’m left hanging like that poster of that kitten that says ‘hang in there, baby’. At 12, there are no more braids with ribbons and cute little barrettes. We no longer watch Dora the Explorer or The Little Einsteins. No more dancing to music and being silly until we pass out. She is all about her phone and friends.
In the past year, the really big changes have been more obvious. Puberty is not a pretty thing. She is dealing with acne, trying to grow into her awkwardly tall body, and handle her emotions (let alone understand them). And then the big M—menstrual cycle came a knockin’.
One day she came to me and said, “Mom, there’s something on my underwear and it’s gross.”
I must have just stared at her because she had to shake me to get a response.
“Mom! Momma, did you hear me?!”
I came back to Earth and said, “It’s ok. Don’t get scared. It’s normal. It just means you are growing up and your body is going through changes on the inside, too. Your period will start soon.”
Long story short, her body changes came like floodgates had opened. In three months, she has grown from 5’5 to 5’9. And boy is she emotional! One minute she’s crying and upset about school and the next she is apologizing to me for her outburst. If you ask my mother, she’ll say, “She’s all you. You were the same way. Don’t worry. This too shall pass.”
But living with this creature that I have created on a day-to-day basis is another story. My emotions are a rollercoaster as well. When she is frustrated, I’m frustrated. When she is sad, I am sad. We are just beginning this journey. Some days I don’t know how we will survive. But we have to. My mother and I did. And there were two of us, twins. (Beyonce is not ready!)
Well I’ve got to do something. Somehow I should at least be able to show how to navigate to womanhood. It’s a celebration. Right? A rites of passage into becoming a full fledge member of the reason the Earth rotates.
This past spring, I had the pleasure of participating in a presentation of area mothers who discussed their journeys. It was called Listen to Your Mother. The topics ranged from relationships with mothers to the death of a precious child. One of the young ladies spoke about her introduction into womanhood with a ‘period party’. My first reaction was one of confusion. Who would want to celebrate that? But as she read through her piece that detailed her experience I came to two conclusions.
The first was it wasn’t about the more uncomfortable parts of a menstrual cycle. It really was a symbol of an extremely valuable and undeniable moment in a girl’s life. A moment that society itself depended on. It is the beginning of a girl’s excursion into womanhood. The only species responsible for and humble enough to keep the world moving. The fact that only women can have children is one of reverence. Just think about it, if that egg were not released you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing it. Because of this complex occurrence, only women have the to completely give our physical and mental selves away to continue humanity. It is the most charitable act a person can do. And my daughter is beginning to prepare to participate, if she chooses to do so.
The second realization, I came to is she doesn’t have to be unprepared for what’s to come and she doesn’t need to feel that way. Of course I can tell her how to relieve her cramps. But I can do so much more. I can tell her that emotions she will feel at any moment are her’s and she doesn’t have to explain to anyone why she is feeling what she is feeling. I can tell her you may be confused yourself, and that is ok. It’s what makes the journey so incredible. You own it and permission from not one other person is necessary to be the great individual you are becoming.
Something I never considered but will be doing for Victoria is throwing a Period Party. Yep, you read that correct. This year around Valentine’s Day I will host a celebration in her honor. I love the idea of father’s taking their daughter’s on a date but my friend introduced me to the opportunity of doing the same thing myself. I’m going to give her an occasion that she will never forget and it will stay with her for the rest of her life.
I am going to decorate in her favorite colors and have her pictures from my pregnancy to that very day on display. I’ll order her favorite Chinese food and have her nana, Godmother, and aunts there. I am also going to invite her best friend and her mom. All of these women will surround her with love, advice, and stories of our own experiences with life. We will tell her how to steer this world and see herself as the rare jewel and ultimate blessing that she is. We will also tell her that cramps suck and so does being stood up. It will end on how she can look herself in the mirror and see what we see: an absolutely stunning one of a kind.
I am so excited about this! I know I embarrass her when I scream out loud at her sporting events or dance in front of her or sing New Editions’ Candy Girl out loud. She begs me to stop when I talk about how cute Harry Connick, Jr and The Rock are. We get into disagreements about what age she is aloud to have a boyfriend or why spandex shorts should only be worn at home. But she knows I would give my life in a heartbeat for her. She knows I transform immediately into a momma bear if one tear from her big brown eyes would fall.
As her mother, it is my duty and my absolute privilege to prepare for womanhood. So, period party here we come!