Last weekend, I took a day off from school to visit my eldest in Asheboro. She was scheduled for a minor female procedure, and Maggie (No. 4) and I drove up to provide moral support.
(Mag and I ended up in a waiting room separate from Kate's, so I'm not sure how we did on the hand-holding score.)
Afterward, the three of us drove back to Kate's cute little duplex to prepare for dinner with The New Boyfriend.
I went to bed early after dinner to allow the young'uns some time to talk freely, sacking out atop a sleeping bag on the floor. Mag and Kate ultimately shared Kate's dumpy double bed.
The next day, when Kate should have been taking it easy, being fed peeled grapes per her stepdad, Cliff's, instructions, we all piled into her dented and venerable Honda to head off for The Big City and shopping.
As Cliff also says, "No one can tell you-all anything."
When the three of us did manage to settle ourselves to chat, the conversations, in keeping with the theme of the weekend, continually veered back to girl-type stuff. And I don't mean shopping and makeup.
For years, I've been lording it over my daughters that since my own particular female shop is closed - I had a hysterectomy years ago - I no longer have the worries they do.
I don't have to plan vacations or, in my second daughter's case, a wedding around the more-or-less regular visits of my monthly guest.
I needn't bother with feminine products or Midol or warning my husband to stay out of my way for a couple of days.
(I remember one trip to the store years ago. After piling up feminine products, pain relievers and diuretics on the conveyor belt, I barked at the checkout clerk: Don't you DARE tell me to have a nice day!)
Plus, because of my hormonal shift, I hardly ever have to shave my legs anymore although my chin and lips seem to be becoming decidedly unfeminine in their habits.
Although I present my situation as one to be desired and looked forward to in contrast to the women who complain about hot flashes, etc., it really isn't the best for one who likes to know what's coming at her at all times.
It's irritating to be on a diet and to see progress . . . and then, for no apparent reason, to backslide even though I haven't been eating out of control.
Or to lose sleep suddenly because people with guns chase me through my dreams. (I spend the following days nodding off intermittently like a narcoleptic.)
Or to snap someone's head off, then wonder why I lost my self-control over something so petty before having the light dawn . . .
My visitor may not announce himself herself, but still arrives, in stealth, at irregular times, with all of the nasty side effects but the most obvious.
As if life weren't mystery enough in my advancing years.
No wonder so many women lose their sense of romance at this age:
They're too busy trying to figure out when the alarm on their body clocks will go off with a shrill and unnerving brrrrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnngggg, announcing the arrival of Old Age the beginning of a slow mental and physical decrescendo toward a final, long rest.
Me, I think I'll slap the snooze button and aim for 10 more years.
After that . . . Who knows?