When I declined my son’s invitation to go for a bike ride, he asked if I was sick. The fact that I was doubled over, holding my midriff probably gave him that idea.
I wasn’t sick. I just wasn’t thrilled about mounting my bike. I also wasn’t interested in horseback riding, frolicking on the beach in my bathing suit, or doing gymnastics.
I was a crampy, bloated nightmare. The only thing I was interested in was a heating pad and to be left alone. However, I felt I owed my son an explanation.
He knows all about the birds and the bees. We had that talk ages ago. And though we discussed the whole “menses” topic and gave him a book to read, (It’s So amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families) I suspected that my boy needed a little refresher.
And so I explained, in my most mature and matter-of-fact sciencey voice about this monthly process. When I was done he said, “I’m SO glad that guys don’t have that.”
No kidding. Dude, you have no idea.
Then he asked, “Does this have to do with PMS? And what does PMS stand for?”
So I explained that too. I wanted him to understand that it’s not made up and that for some women, it’s a difficult and emotional affliction. And that if his sister or future wife or occasionally his mother goes through it he should be compassionate and mostly, if he wants to survive, he should keep a sense of humour about it because like any storm, it will pass.
So now he knows that when his mum uncharacteristically snaps at his dad for accidentally bumping her arm on his way past and then she sharply reminds him that the dishwasher doesn’t unload itself followed by several minutes of her fuming about something you can’t quite hear, it’s probably PMS. And when your dad hugs her and she starts to cry, apologizing for being a horrible, horrible person and says, “Look away! I’m a menstrosity!” and then starts laughing hysterically, it’s definitely PMS.