The Holidays, Part 3: This Time It's Personal

The Next Family

By: Ann Brown


I’ve been thinking a lot about the Virgin Mary.

Probably because I discovered recently that, despite menopause, I am still not completely out of the woods, fertility-speaking.

No, I am not pregnant. But I am not taking any chances now, either. I am not even going to stand downwind of Robin after he’s watched anything on Showtime. And as for letting him see me writhe on the bed while trying to pull up my support tights? Fohgeddaboddit. A guy could get ideas. I am going to make myself as undesirable as possible until I am 100% barren. I am pretty much almost there, anyway. My personality alone can be a powerful anti-aphrodisiac if I use it correctly. Or so I am told.

When my son was in Kindergarten he came home one day and said to me, “we learned all about menopause today!” I kinda believed him because he went to this groovy alternative Waldorf school and maybe I hadn’t really researched the curriculum well enough, having based my decision to send him there solely on the fact that my friend Mary Ford sent her kids there and I wanted Mary to like me.

So, being the highly trained parenting instructor that I am, I knew to give a neutral response. Feigning only a casual interest I screamed, “Say, what the FUCK?”

He nodded. “Yes! Menopause. My teacher told me. It’s a very very beautiful story.”

I made mental note to actually read the brochure of the next school to which I was going to send my child.

Again, relying on my years of parenting educator training, I said, “Hunh.” God, I am hopeless when it comes to parenting my own kids.

My son continued. “Well, when it’s time for menopause and very very winter, you eat and eat.”

Okaaay. So far, he’s right on. Maybe this Waldorf education isn’t such a sham.

“And then you crawl into a cocoon. Then you are a butterfly.”

I was stunned. And intrigued. And more than a little concerned because I was still at the “and then you eat and eat” stage and I am highly claustrophobic. There aren’t enough legal refills of my Xanax to get me to crawl into a cocoon. I freaked in my “open” MRI and made them stop it halfway through.

Oh. Wait.

“Do you mean ‘metamorphosis’?” I asked my kid.

He paused. “Yes!” he said. “I keep getting those two words mixed up.”

Damn. I liked the first version better. Especially the eating and eating part. So I am going to eschew science and go with the cocoon theory of menopause. Who knows, the kid could be wrong. I mean, this is a child who used to mix up the words “nun” and “mummy” and once told his class that God is married to paper-wrapped dead people.

Yeah, definitely, I am going with his first theory. And I intend to be a gorgeous butterfly at the end of menopause.

Now, pass the cookies over here. I’ve got work to do.

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