A guest post by my friend and fellow writer tutor, Lisa Wiley:
Ah, puberty! Oh, wait. . . We are supposed to be talking about menopause aren’t we? Well, at my house, they seem to be one and the same. I was 35 when my daughter Madison was born. The anesthesiologist thought it wise to announce “getting a late start, are we?” I was livid! Madison was frank breech and would need assistance making it through the birth canal in one piece. And this was NONE of his business.
I think back on that day with vivid clarity. Where was the baby that I gave birth to ten years ago? Gone are the days of packing diaper bags. I gratefully leave that chore behind. Now, we face the changes of life together. She grieves each day over issues such as hair and nails, crying in the bathroom as she learns how to deal with the mass of tangles that were a gift from her dad. She angrily looks at me as the enemy. My straight dark hair reminds her of the way hers “should” look. I try to remind her that when I was her age, my mother nearly ripped my scalp off trying to detangle my hair too. It doesn’t help. She has reached the age of the prepubescent; it won’t be long now.
As for me, the gynecologist that confirmed her birth gently reminds me that the things that I am dealing with are normal, and healthy. Really? It is normal for me to go off like a rocket, once a month and need medical intervention? It is normal for me to crave the one thing that would cause me to bite the head off of anyone that stands in my way? Caffeine, you are NOT my friend and I will not give in.
When I held that precious little baby, I did not sign up for this? Did I? I always enjoyed the medicinal quality of my cycle each month. It prevented illnesses and brought me back to a certain normalcy. It was more dependable than many of the people that surrounded me. Where would it go? Our visits are growing shorter and shorter. Would I weep for it, or be grateful that it is finally gone?
The daughter that I held, so many years ago has changed as well. The always smiling, bright, intelligent burst of sunlight is now a smoldering preteen. Her presence reminds me that while I am facing the demise of my ability to procreate, she is just entering hers. She will not be the same going through this, and neither will I. I pray for strength. We are both changing so much and we are forced to face it together.
Photo Above: Madi before this year’s dance recital.
Photo Below: Lisa before the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society dinner at a conference in Myrtle Beach. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society of two-year colleges. Lisa was Piedmont Community College’s chapter president for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Biographical snippets about Lisa: Back in school pursuing a life-long calling of becoming a psychologist. Recently accepted at UNC Chapel Hill. Mother to one gorgeous daughter. Widowed for the past eight years. Sings on the praise team at her church, where daughter Madi plays keyboard.