Lexi is nine.
My daughter Summer tells me, “Lexi has been crying and whining around all week. She wants a bra. All I hear is, ‘I want a bra I want a bra I want a bra I need a bra.'”
I tell her, “No you don’t need a bra. You are nine years old, Lexi, you have nothing to put in it.”
Lexi says, “My friend Elizabeth has a bra. Her mother got her a bra.”
I say, “She got a bra because her older sister got one and she needs a bra. You don’t need one.”
Lexi pouts and pouts and cries and insists she has to have a bra and I keep saying, “Why do you need a bra so badly? You are only nine.”
The truth comes out. Lexi says, “Because I told Elizabeth I have a bra! I’ve been wearing my swim top to school all week under my clothes so she will think I have a bra! It’s scratching my skin, Momma.”
Summer finally gives in. She tells Lexi she will go to Target and look for a bra but that there won’t be any bras for nine year old kids.
“Well,” Summer says to me, “I was wrong. They had thirty-two bras for nine year olds!”
We both gasp.
“So, I got Lexi two bras. One is blue and white polka dots and the other is a yellow lace something. All they are are flat pieces of material that Lexi has to basically wrap around her chest and hope it stays on. She puts it on under her colored tee shirts and then yanks the shirts down so everyone can see a shoulder strap and the top of her ‘bra.'”
“Oh gads,” I moan. “She’s only nine. I didn’t want a bra until I was eleven and I didn’t need one. My teacher had asked me to take the girls behind the piano in our school room and measure them for clothes for our school play. Everybody took their blouses off and there stood Barbara Jones in a bra!! I was so shocked I screamed, ‘Barbara! You’re wearing a bra!’ Barbara just grinned she was so proud.”
“When I got home I began begging my mother for a bra. It was the first time I had ever thought about a bra and now I desperately needed one. Mother finally got me one of those ugly flat pieces of dingy material that passed for Training Bras back then. I was so proud.”
Summer says, “Yes, Lexi too. She put on her polka dot bra and ran into the living room and showed her father. She was saying ‘Look Daddy! I have a bra!'”
Charles was scandalized and upset and didn’t know what to think. Summer said, “Chuck, if she really needed a bra she wouldn’t be rushing in to model it for you.”
I’m saying, “Oh boy, once she really gets hormones you won’t have any control of her at all.”
“She’s already acting like it,” Summer says.
I remind Summer that Lexi has acted like she has hormones ever since she was born. She is a difficult child.
“She had another total meltdown,” Summer is saying, “a few days ago. She’s been sassing us, whining and complaining and she wouldn’t mind. Charles had had it. He took her computer away and then she really flipped out. It’s been pretty bad around here.”
When I ask if Lexi has her computer back yet, Summer says no. When I ask when she might get it, Summer says that’s between Lexi and her father.
I say Lexi is lucky that Charles didn’t shoot and disable her computer with a gun like that man did on YouTube. He shot his daughter’s computer because she was sassy and disrespectful on Facebook about her parents.
Summer and I are quiet.
Lexi is storming closer to puberty than we think she should be. I imagine this is making Summer think how close she herself is to the end of the entire emotional drama of hormones and fertile womanhood.
I tell Summer with a laugh that she is moving into ‘Cronehood.’ Some older ladies told me that’s where I was headed when I was Summer’s age! Arrgh. The ladies who told me this were working hard to be proud and happy crones. I ran off from them and their little home crone meetings in a frenzied huff.
“The Circle of Life” is a nice and pleasant saying until you realize you are actually in life’s circle with the rest of us. It was a shock for me. I thought I would always be young. While I knew I would eventually die, I never thought that I would actually do it.
Lexi is a hard child to raise and now things will be even harder. She makes us realize, and she will keep making us realize, that this is Real Life, that we are in it, and someday…someday…we will be out of it.
I think I might feel better if I had a Training Bra. Maybe I will go to Target and take a look at them. Sometimes living in the past and in Fantasy Land are nice places to be.
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