A few months ago, I wrote a column about the moment I became a woman at the start of my seventh-grade year. Ironically, in the weeks that followed, this same biological event suddenly became more sporadic than it has been in the past leaving me to conclude that either a.) It was offended by my remarks or b.) After 30 long years, my “red” period is coming to an unceremonious end.
Assuming it’s the latter, I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Don’t get me wrong. I will not miss the cramps, the bloating or the migraines and it will be nice to wear white whenever I want to, but I can’t help feeling like it is all happening so suddenly and no matter how I try to spin this, there is no escaping the fact that I am getting older.
The signs have been there for a while now of course, but I have been happily ignoring them. My physician has long stopped grilling me about the date of my last menstrual cycle, my plans for birth control and has began inquiring about baseline mammograms and whether or not everything is still functional “down there.”
I discounted the fact that my mother was roughly my age when she went through the Change and determined that my own quiet passage would occur at the dignified age of 50 when both of my children were out of the house, at least one would be married and I would be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Julie Young Offspring 2.0. (I prefer this term to “grandchildren.”) My doctor agreed to this plan and I went so far as to pencil it in on my 2021 calendar.
Clearly my body didn’t get the memo because all indications suggest that my reproductive system is considering an early retirement.
To a certain extent, I am fine with that. After all, there has been something very lackadaisical about its attitude of late and I am tired of its goofing off. My cycle shows up late, leaves early and only puts in enough time each month to be irritating. I have begun to feel as if we are only quietly tolerating each other until one of us fully commits to the transition of aging by going gray or permanently taking up residence in Boca Raton.
Sometimes I wonder if I would feel differently about this whole thing if I had received a little postcard in the mail alerting me to this momentous occasion. Something tasteful and simple such as:
After several decades with you I have decided that it is time for me to move on. My final stay with you will occur on (DATE). Please make all of the necessary arrangements and know that after this, you will not hear from me again. I would like to thank you for your hospitality over the years and apologize to you and your family for any inconvenience I may have caused. I wish you nothing but the best as you move into this next season of your life. Fondly, Aunt Flo.
Now see, I can get behind that. Heck, if I had gotten that kind of notification, I would have thrown her a going away party. I would have sent an arrangement…but that’s never been her style. Flo’s communication skills have historically left a lot to be desired and Lord knows she’s always believed in the element of surprise.
Somehow I just know that the minute I think she is gone for good, she will show up, send her regards or otherwise make an attempt to spend a long weekend together. I will smile politely and play “catch up” but it will be an act. Any attempt to pretend I am still in the prime of womanhood will be shadowed by the fact that I am closer to Medicare than puberty and like it or not, there is no going back.