July 26, 2013

This one time when I went camping

It was the summer of 1987, between my 7th and 8th grade school years. I was 13. The same age my daughter is now.

My mom, step-dad and I went to Yosemite. Have you ever been? It's an awe-inspiring place. Massive monoliths, cascading waterfalls and green valleys. Gorgeous!

We set up camp in a spacious site. I had my own small tent. It made me feel cool, like I was especially mature, and of course not afraid to sleep by myself in the woods.

We spent several days there; the better part of a week, I'm sure.

Lots of hikes, picnics and photo opps....

Until one day, right before a hike, my tummy hurt a little. I went to the bathroom and thought maybe there was a spot of something in my underwear. Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I decided not to say anything yet.

We hiked and headed back to our campsite for dinner. After cleaning up and putting everything away so bears couldn't get to it, my mom and I headed to the bathroom.

This time I noticed more of something in my underwear.

"Uh, mom....?" I called. "I kinda need you to see this."

I let her into my stall and she looked. "Oh! You started your period."

"Really? Is that really what it is?", I asked, incredulously.

"Looks that way to me!", she confirmed.

She told me she'd run and get me a clean pair of underwear. I sat there on the toilet processing this little turn of events.

I got my period!

OMG, I can't believe I started my period while camping, when I don't have anything!

Buoyed by clean underwear and some wadded up toilet paper my mom and I walked back to the campsite. We were sitting around the fire awhile later when my mom had a revelation: "Jennifer can't sleep by herself tonight, a bear might smell her!"


"Mom!!", I wailed.

But she was adamant. I had to sleep in their tent for protection from period sniffing bears.

I did. No bears got me. I survived. Barely.

I was prompted to tell this story by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

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