When I was about 9 or 10 there was this book called What’s Happening to Me?, it was one of those books about puberty. It was an iconic book. An x rated comic book about boobs, penises and pubic hair. Everyone had a friend who had one of these books and we all took turns paging through it and giggling at all the silly drawings of plump, bumpy and fairly hairy preteens as they make their way through puberty. It answered all the questions no one wanted to ask their parents and that the gym teacher was to terrified to address in a co-ed class.
When I was pregnant, there was a book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s still a New York Times Best Seller, probably in it’s 30th printing. It too, was a book about getting through a terrifying part of life, explained with drawings of things many of us (mostly my husband) wasn’t ready to see in a book or in real life. It went week by week and laid bare exactly what to expect when pregnant and right bloody after.
There was a follow up book about what to expect with an infant and toddler but I was too busy and too tired to read it.
Why isn’t there a cute book with adorably drawn women as they manage their way through mood swings, hot flashes and irregular periods?
I’m almost fifty years old, I have access to the internet and have been Googling what to expect from menopause for a while now. I have asked women who I assume have gone through the change only to tell me that it was a breeze or that it hasn’t happened. I asked Facebook about hot flashes and what they felt like and no one could give me one, agreed upon answer. Everyone has such a different experience that I am not sure if I am suffering from hot flashes, bad Chipotle or maybe a little flu.
The thing about menopause is that once you’re in menopause, all the excitement of mood swings, cravings, and hot flashes are over. It’s the getting there – the up to ten fucking years of mood swings, cravings, and hot flashes – that no one really talks about. We suffer in relative silence.
Today I was driving out to see my mother. That in itself is a bit of roller coaster emotionally but today I wasn’t expecting anything. She’s had a lot of trouble with her teeth in the last couple of months but we seemed to weather the dry socket and infection from the removal of 6 front teeth without too much drama. She’s been feeling pretty good even if her delusions are casting their short shadows again.
The drive to my mother’s nursing home is long, it’s at least half an hour. Plenty of time to think, rock out or listen to the news. Today I chose to listen to music.
I was singing along to the Go-Gos when a song came on that I used to play as I attempted to rock my son to sleep when he was colicky. Before the first chorus tears were streaming down my cheeks.
Why was I crying? Because the love between a mother and child is so pure, so amazing and so special, that of course I would get caught up in it.
Or, it was the fucking hormones.
I saw my mother, stopped at least three times on the way home to pee and then stopped at the grocery store to pick up chocolate and French bread. It it had been later in the day I would have picked up wine, too.
Yesterday, I waited at a stop sign for several minutes waiting for the light to change.
I don’t know how long this lasts, I just wish there was a cute, animated book with boobs, penises and grey pubes I could read with my friends and giggle over until wine squirted out of our noses.