16 January 2012
Well, today's the day for my surgery. This day arrived both with the speed of a roaring train and trying to swim through molasses in January at the same time.
During my period last week it occurred to me that this will be the very last one I will ever have. I won't miss it. Really, I won't. Although one of my best memories of my mom is directly related.
When I was 9 or 10 I got my first period. Pads were just being advertised as thin instead of thick bulky things and tampons were widely available. My mom only kept o.b. tampons on hand and that brand had no applicator so I couldn't figure them out and was not going to ask. Besides, parts of me were too small for a tampon at the time. So anyway, my periods were very heavy when I was young and at night I would wear my tightest panties to bed to hold the pad in place. This never worked. Every month at least one night I would have to get up and wash my pajama bottoms in the sink because my pad shifted while I slept. It didn't occur to me to tell anyone about this, instead I just dealt with it and slept in wet, cold jammies. One night my mom got up and asked what I was doing. I told her and showed her. She asked if this happened a lot and I said it did, every month. She nodded and went back to bed. Before my next period my mom took me into the bathroom and showed me what she bought. It was a belt and some very thick pads with long wing-like attachments on the front and back. She explained how to attach the wings to the belt in the front and back and how it would hold the pad right up against my body and stop leaks. And you know what? It did. I didn't have to clean my jammies in the middle of the night ever again.
That was the kindest thing my mom ever did for me and I never forgot how grateful I felt. The lasting result of that action is that I do my best to watch people around me and see if they need something but are afraid to ask, then provide it. Sometimes I get it wrong or miss it altogether. But when I do get it right I see the relief and gratitude in their eyes and nothing beats that feeling of knowing I helped make someone feel that good.