In case you missed it, Judy Blume just released a new adult novel last week entitled "In the Unlikely Event". Coincidentally, someone asked online how they should start talking to their daughter about menstruation, and as many women know, Judy Blume and periods pretty much go hand in hand. I don't recall having a sit-down chat with my mother, but I do recall learning about the ultimate female milestone from Blume's prepubescent classic "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret". As many a 13-year old girl can attest, it's an important book that taught me so much about life and what I could expect in my teen years and beyond. Here are just seven life takeaways I gleaned from "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret":
1. Moving is not the worst thing in the world. Margaret's move to the suburbs of New Jersey from New York City goes really well, she makes new friends right away and even gets to be in a very exclusive club, The Pre-Teen Sensations. I didn't start moving around a lot until later in life, but I made many friends and definitely caused a sensation in every place I've lived in—I'm huge in Japan!
2. Stuffing your bra from time to time is totally fine. Some outfits just need a few cotton balls or—later in life—a padded bra or a silicone gel bra insert. There ain't no shame in the trying to look bigger game. But one must always consider who might be groping your boobs, whether it's Philip Leroy for a game of Two Minutes in the Closet or a steamy first date. While I have a rather large bosom, my girls are more like cousins than sisters and I need a padded push up bra to get good cleavage.
3. Daily exercise is of the utmost importance.We must! We Must! We must increase our bust! is an invigorating way to start any day. My own dear sweet flat-chested mother even taught me a second verse to that gem: We better! We better! We better fill out our sweaters! Hurrah! Hurrah for the 28 AAA bra! My childhood best friend and I both ended up with large knockers so naturally, we believe in the method.
You might practice putting pads on before it arrives, but you won't be wearing one when Aunt Flo finally comes to town.
4. It's okay to not practice any religion. Margaret's parents' inter-faith marriage caused a rift in their family and drove poor Margaret crazy deciding if she was going to join the Jewish Community Center or the YMCA. My own mother didn't go to church which was pretty weird in my suburban town but Margaret taught me that it's okay. Our kid probably won't be going to church either, because we also don't practice a religion.
5. Your grandparents may not be as warm as you would like them to be. When Margaret's maternal Christian grandparents suddenly appear on the scene causing Margaret to cancel her trip to Florida to visit her Jewish grandmother(who's always been there for her), only to then turn around and leave after one night, oh man that really burned my brisket! My mother's parents disapproved of her marriage to my father, because he was black and it took them a long time to accept that fact. They missed out on a lot of our lives because of their racist disapproval and we were never very close.
6. Big busted girls need love too. Everyone remembers the girl that got her boobs early (especially if you were that girl.) Margaret has a real PMS moment where she talks shit to Laura Danker, the tall, developed girl in her class whom no one likes because they are envious. Of course she finds out that Laura is not actually going behind the A&P and getting felt up by the boys in the neighborhood and she feels terrible. So in 7th grade when a new girl with gigantic jugs moved in up the street, I made friends with her.
7. Your period will come when you least expect it. You might practice putting pads on before it arrives, but you won't be wearing one when Aunt Flo finally comes to town. The night I got my period my mother was in class getting her Master's degree and my older sister was already in college, so it was just me and my dad. And I couldn't tell him, I just couldn't. Of course there were no pads in the house that night and I definitely wasn't ready for tampons so it was kind of a situation. I made do with a box of tissues until my mother got home but I wasn't freaked out by getting my period because of Judy Blume and for that, I thank God for Margaret.
Did you read "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" Would you give it to your daughter to read?