The other day, when Cliff and I were furniture shopping, I studied the adorable young saleswoman helping us. She didn’t seem as lively as the last time we met with her. “Maybe she has cramps,” I said to myself. “Poor thing.”
Cramps are tricky because women are reluctant to announce they have them, and most women look just fine. No crutches or poison ivy splotches or sneezing to announce the malady. Megan just seemed what my friend Judy calls “droopy.”
When you’re finished having periods, you mostly forget about them. Every now and then, I think: wow, women all around me are still having periods. Then my mind floats back to the cramps I once had, the flooding incidents as menopause sunk in, the girlhood days of worrying about periods at the pool or beach. Phew. Been there. Done that.
And that brings me to my Smokey the Bear story.
We go to the North Carolina State Fair every near. I mean EVERY year (or Cliff gets droopy). But the most dramatic year was the year my cramps took me by surprise (about 2009 or so). I couldn’t get the pain med into me fast enough. I passed out right under the giant Smokey the Bear.
Cliff caught me and got me over to a nearby log. When I opened my eyes, I looked into his face and thought: He’s still such a cute man.
My cramps passed about twenty minutes later, which put me in a festive mood as we walked from the onion ring booth to the milking demonstration to the state’s largest pumpkin.
“That was so romantic,” I said a few times, my arm looped around his. “You caught me just like a man catches his leading lady in an old time movie.”
“Barbara, ” Cliff finally replied, “That was NOT romantic. I thought you’d had a stroke. For a few seconds, I was terrified you were dead.”
That’s the good thing about cramps. They don’t kill you, but every time I see Smokey, I’m glad those days are over.
And I’m glad Cliff was scared that ALL MY DAYS might have been over. Shows he’s in this for the long haul.
I get why he was worried. While this close-to-menopausal woman didn’t look like a glamorous starlet fainting on the silver screen, I’m a heck of a lot of fun at the North Carolina State Fair.
For those of you who are finished, do you think about periods anymore? For those of you still having them, what do you look forward to the most when those days are over?
Speaking of periods, a friend sent me links to two articles about periods. This one discusses work policy and periods. The times they are a changin’. And this one debunks the idea that women who live together find their cycles synchronizing.