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Day 18

“Something terrible has happened.” I told my husband. Of course I warned him that the terrible thing isn’t terrible in the sense of, say, someone died. But terrible in the sense of, utter shock.

Against my will and best wishes I have been bluntly reminded that time stops for no man, and no matter how hard you wish to believe, things will change, and children will grow. Whether you like it or not.

My niece, the first female grandchild to be born into the family, has gotten her period.

Now, in ten or fifteen years, when she’s old enough to register that her wealthy, famous, philanthropic aunt (I’m pretending here) has a blog, and she’s spent a late night reading though the old archives of said blog, she will be utterly embarrassed that I told the internet she got her period. And I look forward to her cringe-face when she does.

Of course, unless you know either of us, you won’t know her name or anything about her other than her “coming of age”, as I intend. Except for, of course, her age. Which happens to be a part of the reason why I’m so distraught.

SHE’S HOW OLD?!

You see, she’s nine. NINE. NINE. FREAKING. YEARS. OLD. When did this start happening before a kid reached the decade mark?! I was at least 12, maybe 13. That was also a million years ago.

How is it a child’s body can become mature before they mature mentally. That isn’t to say she’s not smart, my niece. But she’s also a huge goofball, loud, and stubborn. Of course all that is natural in our line of women, but still. I can look at her and know she’s not ready for this.

And yet there is no magic pill or injection with yearly booster that can pause the development of a person until their brain reaches the right stage of growth. If anyone knows of such a thing still in R&D, hit me up. I have a pickle jar of change to lob at the nearest scientist.

And the simple fact that this country, this would, is not currently built with women, especially young fertile women, in mind, makes this all the more gut wrenching.

Of course my mind goes straight to the 10 year old who was raped and sought an abortion. The fact that the violation of a child barely a decade into life happened is one disgusting matter. But knowing that there are people out there who would rather risk the 10 year old’s life and force her to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, chills me to my core.

If some low life with a protruding part and an evil idea in his head chose to harm my niece, she could not only be a victim, but forced into that burden as well.

Not that, between myself, my sister, and my brother-in-law, the perpetrator would love to see another day. (Legally I feel like I should say that we are in no shape, form, or fashion, planning to, nor have we committed any sort of crime.)

Parents: educate your children

Male or female or whatever. Educate your kids. while I know my sister has already started the conversation well before “tragedy” struck, there’s still more to come.

Men and boys have it easy. The thought that my niece has to experience Aunt Flo’s monthly visit now and until menopause, makes my heart hurt for her. Boys don’t have to deal with it. They get the whole change of voice, they get taller, and facial hair that society doesn’t tell them is gross and should be promptly removed. Girls have to start buying special products that cost way more than something we have to have should.

My sister and I are talking about having a conversation with my niece, as women. I hope to be ready for it, so we can help her with this gawdawful transition.

It has occurred to me

That because of this new path she has to travel in life, and the small but evident age gap between them, she and my child, who have been so close, close enough for The Kid to call my niece her “best friend”, might grow apart. That’s not to say I think my niece will change overnight. But it’ll be an experience they cannot share in just yet.

It also reminds me that in roughly two years The Kid could be going though the same thing.

Hopefully by then I’m on sufficient amounts of medically prescribed “assistance” to get me through the whole thing.