I distinctly remember being upset. Mad. Frustrated. Outraged, even. I wanted my period to start. The other girls my age all had their periods already. But, not me. I pestered my mom with questions, constantly.
“When is my period ever going to start?!”
“How come everyone else has their period but not me?”
“It’s not fair that my period hasn’t started!”
When my mom took me to the pediatrician for my next check up, he did all the usual checks and balances. Then, I started my inquisition on him, asking the same questions and pleading for him to tell me when – an exact date – my period would start. When he came back with a stifled laugh and said, “a couple of years,” I couldn’t have been angrier. He went on, “Don’t rush. Just wait. You’ll have your period for years, decades even. And believe me, you’ll wish you could come back to this day and stop yourself from wanting it sooner.” Boy, was he right.
Now, decades after that conversation and decades in to, “Womanhood,” my own daughter is starting the questions. When will she get her period? When will she get boobs? When can she wear a bra? What about pubic hair? When can she wear makeup? When can she start shaving her legs? And here we go. I find myself giving my daughter the same speech my mom gave me.
How many times in our lives do we spend looking forward to something else? As girls, we beg for our periods to come – until we’re wishing we could just get a break. As moms and dads, we look ahead to the next developmental step – sitting, crawling, walking, kindergarten. And we forget. We forget to just stop and enjoy what we have, when we have it. It reminds me of that country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
My youngest son turns three next week and I just want to hold on to him and all the memories of the little things he does. I want to cherish the moments when my seven-year old son tells me his ice cream is, “so damn good.” I want to tuck in a keepsake box the memory of my ten-year old daughter peppering me with questions about pads and tampons one minute and then running to play with her giant stuffed animal the next. And yet, time slips away.
Do you find yourself falling into this phenomenon? The day-to-day stuff, doing laundry and the dishes, creeps in and before you know it, your baby is graduating high school? What would you tell your children (or yourself, for that matter) to “JUST WAIT” about?