May 14, 2013: Coming of Age Story



This is a coming of age story. That time in your life when you are transitioning from the cute kid to the young adult (but really miss being the cute kid). My coming of age hit at about age twelve. This story took place in the middle of the summer at my grandparent’s farm in Iowa. My mom was the oldest of the nine Pick children. As the oldest grandchildren, my brothers and I were dotted on by our many aunts and uncles.

At age twelve, I was spending many summer nights at Grandpa and Grandma’s farm. My brothers and I really had the best of both worlds as kids. We lived in town, but had the farm at our disposal as a limitless playground. On the occasions when the “out of town” aunts and uncles came back to the farm to visit, it was an even more special time.

This particular memory was with my Uncle David on one of his anticipated visits. David was a college professor on the East Coast and between his schedule and the distance; his visits were rare during this period of my life. Since his last visit, I had grown up from the little girl he knew. It was that awkward time of still being seen as the little girl, but wanting to be noticed as a young woman. 

I remember the moment vividly.  It was a beautiful summer night with the sun close to setting. On this particular evening I was sitting on the front steps of the farm house, drinking a sweetened iced tea and reading Good Housekeeping magazine. I was trying to act grown up. I knew the routine of my uncles and knew they would soon be joining me. They liked to relax outside with a smoke and a tea before dark.

I was very intrigued by Uncle David; my perceived hippie uncle. He had long hair, pretty girlfriends, and fast cars. I knew he was very cool. With his home across the country, I didn't grow up in front of him. My adolescent transition was new. I felt like I needed to assert my own new coolness to Uncle David.

The first uncle outside after dinner that night was David. He lit up a cigarette and sat next to me. I kept reading my Good Housekeeping, coolly pretending I didn't notice his presence. After he smoked in silence for a minute or two, he casually asked, “Well, young lady, what are we reading tonight?”

To my horror, the magazine was flipped open to a full page tampon ad. As I quickly turned the page, my mind raced in utter embarrassment searching for something cool to say. My quick wit was to tell Uncle David I was meditating, not actually reading the magazine.

My quick wit wasn't so quick as my words got jumbled. Instead of saying “I'm meditating,” I blurted out “I'm menstruating.”  I believe they call this a Freudian Slip.

David looked at me and I looked back at him. We were speechless. After a very awkward pause, Uncle David did his best to act as though I never made the statement. Eventually he smiled and disappeared back into the house. I was mortified. This was definitely not the way I wanted to be introduced as an adolescent. But I couldn't take it back. This was my coming out statement.  



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