This morning saw something that doesn’t happen very often . . . my two daughters arguing with each other. Not screaming, “I hate you!” kind of arguments but just . . . sniping at each other.
I, of course, was harping on the middle daughter, Hannah, already because the kitchen – her one chore every day – was a gigantic mess. From my peripheral vision I noticed Abbi, hair wet, towel wrapped around her diminutive form, barreling down the stairs shouting “I don’t care if you take them but tell me!”
The “them” she’s referring to, of course, is the feminine hygiene products in the home. Apparently that time of the month had arrived for my oldest and she was out of tampons.
That’s right, I said tampons.
Yes, I’m a guy, but no . . . I’m not flabbergasted or red-faced when I say the word. I can use lots of feminine hygienic words like maxi-pad, tampon, panty liner, period, uterine flow, Kotex, Tampax . . . need I really go on? I was already on the way out the door to take the other three – Hannah, Noah and Sam – to school. Knowing how an 18-year-old without these products would suffer . . . okay, I don’t know, but you know, I know. It cannot be easy, so I shouted, on the way out the door “I’ll stop at the store after dropping them off and get you more.”
It’s a big thing for your oldest to come to terms with and embrace the fact that her father is buying tampons for her. The middle daughter apparently cannot come to terms with that yet. How do I know this? Because every month I find at least one or more pairs of underwear either in the garbage – which I cannot afford to keep buying new panties every month – or in the laundry let’s say more than a week past their wear date and they’re less than pleasant. About as pleasant as when her 9-year-old brothers sneak a pair of soiled underwear in there.
Now, before every woman on the planet starts lambasting me, let me inform you that my oldest already told me how embarrassing it is for a girl to have only her Dad to tell her these things. I understand that. It would be like the boys having their mother or aunt telling them the specifics of having sex . . . not really a conversation you want to have with a female authority figure.
The problem is, though, there are two older people in the house that she has: Abbi – who is really her sister and not always as responsible as she could be . . . and me. That’s it. You can’t call your Aunt to tell them you’re out of maxi-pads and your underwear is soiled. You can’t tell your sister because . . . let’s face it, I’m the one who does the laundry. I’m also the one who ends up cleaning the bathrooms – for both girls and myself. So when that time of the month comes . . . as much as the feminine products dress their boxes up with day-glo colors and butterflies and flowers . . . it’s not the most, shall we say, sanitary of things, those sanitary napkins.
I don’t say this to complain about what women go through. I don’t pretend I can understand what it feels like or what they go through. But I am their father . . . I can empathize, I’ve done my best to try. So when things happen, and I know they will, just tell me. If you’re too embarrassed . . . then fix it yourself! Put a liner in the trash can! Clean your own toilet! I’ve shown Hannah the tips – peroxide in cold water for your underwear. Buying dark colored or black panties. Calendars to track your cycle. Hell . . . borrow tampons or pads from your sister, but as her sister said . . . tell them!
It should show the progress I’ve made as the sole parent and being a father that my biggest complaint about running to the store and looking specifically for the Kotex brand of tampons wasn’t going to the checkout with tampons . . . it was the fact that I got to work a half-hour late because I had to buy tampons.
But then . . . I never said it would be easy, did I?