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Claire Thinking
Things That Are Hard
to Tell Your Mother

Why is it so hard for me to tell things to my mother?

I must have been conditioned to keep things to myself. I can't remember any defining moment when this rule was taught, but its effects have been plaguing me for most of my life.

The first time I remember challenging this rule was when I was about 11. I had been out riding my bike and had taken a nasty spill in the road. I landed face down in the gravel, smacking into the handlebars with my chest. There was one very distinct round red bruise right above my left breast.

Knowing an opportunity when I saw it, I began to formulate a plan. I was going to have to take off my shirt to show the bruise to my mom and that was when I was going to do it.

Standing in the kitchen, my mother watching with concern, I began to peel my t-shirt off over my head. Just when my body was exposed and my face fully covered with my shirt, I said, "Mom, I need a bra." I don't remember if that worked, but it at least started the conversation.

The next big conversation was not long after the bike incident.

I had seen the filmstrip in fifth grade about "becoming a woman" and had 3 older sisters, but I still wasn't ready when I got my first period. These were the days when you had to wear this contraption like a garter to hold the pad in place. Try asking your mom about how to use that!

I think they made tampons back then, but you weren't supposed to wear them until you were married. At least that's what Mom said.

I managed to avoid all other possibly traumatic conversations that could have come up during high school and college. There was just no way I was talking about boys or sex with my mother. She wasn't talking about it with me either. This worked for us. Well, it worked until she found out I was using tampons. Then she was worried.

I was very clever when I broached the subject of marriage. My boyfriend and I stopped to visit my parents and I told my mom that I had a sewing project and that I needed her help. Then I showed her the pattern for the wedding dress. Mom took one look and collapsed into a chair. Then she hollered for Dad.

It was always best to tell Dad through Mom. I think this was another rule - it may have been my own. Hey, it was hard enough to tell these things to my own mother - I had no idea how to communicate with my dad.

My dress turned out beautiful, by the way. Wish I could still squeeze into it.

Claire's wedding dress

Telling Mom that my husband wanted a divorce was a lot tougher. I don't remember much about this conversation at all. I know it took place in the kitchen - as conversations with Mom always do. She was as shaken and distraught as I was about the whole thing. I know she held me and we both cried. Then we probably had pie.

There's not much we can't talk about now, although it's still hard to talk to her about boys. Since we didn't talk about them when I was a teenager, I feel kind of embarrassed talking about them now.

I know that she's hoping that I find that someone special so that I can live happily ever after. She and Dad are in their 60th year of marriage!

Claire's Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad

I guess being 46, I won't ever be able to reach that monumental year myself, but I'm willing to give it my best shot.

I don't think we will be sewing my next wedding gown, but I sure hope that "Mom, I've met someone…" is a conversation I will still get to have with her.

Thankfully, we won't ever have to go through that bra thing again. And I'm pretty adept with the feminine hygiene products these days. I suppose in a few years we may be having a tête-à-tête about menopause but I'm willing to put that off as long as possible.

Claire and her Mom

Through all the awkwardness, embarrassment, joyfulness, and sorrow that seem to accompany these discussions with Mom, there is one thing that I never find difficult to tell her.

Mom, I love you.


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