Contrary to what my kids think, I'm not stupid. I know that they think because I’m “old” that means that I don’t pay attention to shit. But I know that my little girls are growing up. I notice little things like when they grow out of their clothes. Or, when they start asking questions that, a couple of years ago, they had no interest in. Like about boys. Ugh. (Keep reading, we are getting there too.) But, ya know, It's a great feeling. Any parent wants to see their kids grow, mature, and develop into good young people.
On the other hand, I hate it.
My oldest daughter is 12. And over the last couple of years, I've noticed her grow up, out, and around. And she has grown more into a teenage little girl body. She got parts on her that she didn't have before. And the parts she had are getting, well, bigger. What's worse, on more than one occasion, had to shoot back looks of pure death to little boys (and grown ass men) checking my daughter out. "Keep it pushin' playa, she ain't the one..."
But nevertheless, Mother Nature doesn’t ask for my opinion on when I am ready for my girls to start developing into women. I really really wish she would. It would take place around 25. Or never. Who knows. I just know a part of me wishes that my little girls would stay little girls forever. But get jobs. Because I don’t want to pay for the them forever.
Anywho, let me tell you a story about the first time I had to buy my daughter pads.
Side note, my kids read my blog. Yeah, they know about it. Hell, if I didn’t tell them, I’m sure one of you all would have said something. So, I told them about it. And, I told them that I would be writing about them. For the most part, they think it's cool that I write stories about our lives and the things we go through. I even gave a heads up to Ayanna that I would be writing about her first period. And the conversation went like this:
Me: "I'm going to write about the first time I had to buy you pads."
Ayanna: (Rolls her eyes) "No, Daddy. Don't do that."
Me: "Why not? It's a story about our lives, and maybe other guys had to go through it."
Ayanna: (Rolls her eyes again) "Daddy, OMG you are soooo extra."
You know that you're doing something right when your kids call you "extra".
Now to the story!
Last year, my daughter was at her Mom's house visiting. It's the weekend. I'm home chillin. Playing Xbox. Call of Duty to be exact. I was having an exceptionally good video game day that day. I was like running around shooting fools online and living my best life. On these special days, I sit around in my underwear, with food and beer. Lots of snacks. Lots of beer. I am an extroverted introvert. Yeah, I can get out and be social with people, but when I really wanna chill, I’m Xboxing by my damn self. It was a glorious day.
All of a sudden, I get a call from Ayanna's Mom. It goes something like this...
Her: "Umm, Jamaal, your daughter started her period. You need to go buy her pads."
Me: "You don't have anything there for her? "
Her: "No, I don't use pads. Go get her some and bring them here."
So, not only do I have to put clothes on and leave my man cave, now I have a bunch of thoughts running through my head. "Pads?!?!?!, wtf!" "Ain't she too young for her period???" (She was 11.) "Is she scared???" "Is she crying???". All these thoughts are flying like bats in my head.
But the overall number one question that was running through my head was...
WHAT THE HELL KIND OF PADS DO I BUY HER?!?!?!
Bro' I had no clue. I also knew that living in 21st century America, this would be the land of options. And when I pulled up to Walmart, I had a general dread of what I was to encounter. I get out of my car and walk nervously, but briskly, to the door. I enter, make a left, and head straight to the feminine section of the store. I had seen this section before, sitting there in all of its glory. However, I never had to venture down it's aisles before.
I muster enough confidence to walk down there like I had been there before. But as I had feared, there were options. Sooooooo many options. I stood there in front of all those options of pads dumbstruck. Pads for light days, medium days, heavy days. Pads with wings, pads without wings. Soooooo many different brands. Who the hell knew that there could be so many ways of stopping blood coming out of feminine private places???
For example, I didn't know if women’s opinions on pads was like my opinion on hot sauce. Franks Hot Sauce is okay. But I’m a Louisiana Hot Sauce Guy. I was raised on the shit. If I’m a fried chicken joint, and all they got is Frank’s, then I’m going to fuck with it. It ain’t gonna set the party in my mouth off like that, however, it will get the job done ya know??? But, if I had my druthers, I would go with Louisiana Hot Sauce every day.
What if pads were like that too? I didn't want to just get good enough. For God’s sake this was her very first period. This would be a story that she would tell her daughter years down the road. I don’t want her telling her little girl that the first time she had her period, her Dad got her some generic ass Walmart knockoff pads. Nah bro. That wasn’t going to be my story. I wasn’t' going out like that. I didn't want to get my little girl the Franks Hot Sauce of period pads. I wanted to be the best! Show me the Louisiana Hot Sauce of period pads!!!
I had to hurry. It wasn’t like I had a whole lot of time do hop online and read ratings and reviews for the best pads for an 11-year-old girl’s first period. My little girl is over at her Mom's house bleeding in parts she never has before. But I was paralyzed by fear and doubt.
Then, my friend's girlfriend came down the aisle as well. I looked at her with a wild look in my eye and asked her what I should buy.
"Sorry Jamaal, I don't wear pads. I don't know what to tell you." she said. I could tell she really wanted to help but she was as lost as I was.
So, I did what any man would do when faced with a problem like this.
I grabbed a bunch of different kinds. I think I spent like $50 bucks in pads that day. I bought all the different kinds that I could. It was a smorgasbord of feminine products. Or a sampler platter of pads, if you will. I hurried out of the store, flew to the other side of town, and knocked on my daughter's Mom's door. Ayanna answered with a look of just disdain on her face.
"Baby, baby are you ok???" I said frantically.
"Yes Daddy, I'm fine." She said calmly.
"Ummm, okay. Well here you go." I said. And I handed her three Walmart bags full of pads. She had pads for days. She enough pads for seventeen periods. All different kinds. I told her to find one she liked. She took the bag and walked in the house.
I went back to my car and took a deep breath. I was fighting back tears. My little baby was growing up. For real, for real. I felt as if I had turned a corner and I wasn't going back. From now on, there was no denying the fact that I would have to eventually answer questions, fight off boys, deal with female emotions, and grow with my daughter. But it was all good. I had to step up to the plate like every other challenge I had as a father. I was good. I was at peace.
But I promise you, if I keep seeing grown ass men giving my little girl the R Kelly Seems Like You’re Ready/ Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number look I'm going to beat a fool down with a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce. In Jesus name.
Read and discuss.