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About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Are you a modern woman?

It’s over. It’s finally flippin’ over. Twenty people. Chez de Mullets. Heartburn. Headaches. A life-size Elmo. Old faces. New friends.

Well, I wouldn’t call them friends exactly.

My grandmother brought her new boyfriend, John. When I offered him coffee he shouted, “We finished eating. I don’t know why the hell we’re still here.” (He’s actually an improvement from her last boyfriend, who tried to charge my dad for a turkey he brought for Christmas—a turkey he’d gotten free from work.)

Aunt Flo decided to pop in and visit my niece, Sarah, for the very first time. She didn’t take it well; in fact, she and her mom left early because of it. Sarah was worried people would see the Kotex wrappers in the waste basket and know they were hers. I offered to casually announce that they belonged to me—as in, “Hey everybody, if you, um, happen to notice Kotex wrappers in the bathroom they are totally mine please pass the potatoes”—but she wouldn’t have it.

It’s funny how you forget the weight of those early coming of age experiences. Why, after Sarah left I realized I had completely blocked out that muggy afternoon in Maine when my cousin and I were at my aunt’s house and I butterflied into the vibrant, oh-so mature woman I am today.

I believe that when I came running out of the bathroom that fine day in 1987, my aunt was slinging one of my training bras across the room at her parakeet, Hank, who, incidentally, could whistle “Oh, when the saints.”

“Is this your Band-Aid?” she asked me.

After I sheepishly shared my news, she told me I could find a box of Tampax under the sink. When I politely asked her for a maxi pad, she told me that modern women didn’t use pads, they used tampons. Coming from a woman who lived in a double-wide in the woods of Maine—a woman who toted a 6-pack of Bud under her arm—this statement struck me as odd.

Nonetheless, I looked under the sink and found the Tampax, right next to my uncle’s collection of Hustler “magazines.” He may have been rolling joints on the kitchen table while I dutifully read the Tampax instructions; this is where my memory grows hazy…

…because using a tampon for the first time is nerve-wracking! There’s sweat, shaking hands, fear you’re going to mess up and end up with a tampon sticking out your nostril. What if you puncture your kidney? What if you can’t get it out? What if you just lost your virginity to a wad of bleached cotton?

Never mind a stoned uncle, heckling aunt and whistling parakeet outside the door.

I would have been thrilled with a Kotex and an aunt who offered to take ownership of my stupid little wrappers. Thrilled I tell ya!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I like how WYM ended off her post-Christmas post: “Don't forget. Appreciate. Breathe in your life, hold it in and allow it to nourish your heart.”

And banish those horrid relatives who scarred you in your impressionable years to the bowels of hell!



April said...

I had to laugh out loud at the thought of the tampon sticking out of the nostril!

Julia said...

LOL. That was simply a lovely follow up to Christmas since the holiday spirit has been dwindling rapidly at my house. I wish I got tampons earlier in my life than I did! Lucky you.

Work at Home Mom said...

Thanks for the laugh! Your family "almost" makes my family sound normal. Almost.

Keely said...

Okay, the 'charging for a turkey' line just about made ME snort a tampon out of my nostril. And I'm not even menstruating.

At least the poor kid has a mom who is sensitive to what constitutes a 'big deal'. Glad you survived the holidays with your sanity more or less intact.

Eudea-Mamia said...

Wow. Just wow. Grandmother's boyfriend - now he's a keeper.

And aren't you a wonderful Aunt to try to cover for the not so wonderful Aunt.

Does your niece read your blog? You might have to get out some more Air Supply...

Temple said...

Nothing like a classy Christmas tampon story to put your life in perspective!

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Where's the 'delete' button for my brain for all the images you conjured up? ROTFLMAO!!! Too, too, yeah, thanks for sharing! ;)

Nicole said...

Oh my--what a story! I can't remember my first date with Miss Lolli, but I think I'm thankful for that! Now we have New Year's to look forward to... :)

Carol said...

Ah, relatives. Your story reminded me of a moment with my mom's youngest sister, my Aunt Nancy. We were at her house, I was standing next to her. She asked me to hold her cigarette (I was around 12-14 years old.) Then she chided me for smoking.

Jennifer said...

Ungrateful child! You should have informed her of just how good she has it!!!

Frogs in my formula said...

She does have it good! I mean, I was practically traumatized.

Leanne said...

Oy. Isn't growing up fun? Poor teen but it's so HARD. I still remember the uh, pain..

in the butt relatives. :)

Smart A$$ Mom said...

Puncturing a kidney?


Carol said...

That's a very interesting coming of age story right there.

It's amazing, the people we're related to.