I’ve always had an amazing relationship with my dad. We’re very comfortable communicating about topics that a lot of parents have trouble discussing with their kids. When I am around eight years old, he remarries. He is married to my step-mother for only a couple of years, (for many reasons; she turned out to be a bad person all around), but this incident is one of the final straws.
When I am ten, we take a big family vacation to Disney World. There is me, my dad, my older brother, my step-mother, her parents, and her two sons who are also older than me. So the only females in the condo we rent are me, Step-Mom, and Step-Grandma. This is important.
I am an early bloomer, and have started having my period a few months before. My mom has only bought me pads previously, so that’s all I had experience with. Right in the middle of our vacation, I unexpectedly get my period. This would have been embarrassing enough for a 10-year-old, but I also have a condition (which won’t be diagnosed for a few more years) that makes my cycle much more painful than “normal,” to the point where I’ve actually passed out a few times.
I run to my step-mom to ask if she had any pads. Her response is to throw a box of tampons at me and walk away. When I try to tell her I’d never used them, and can she take me to the store for pads, she just yells at me to deal with it. Then she grabs her mother and leaves the condo to go shopping.
So I am in the bathroom, stuck in a condo with a bunch of men, with an item I am too scared to use. Sure, I could read the instructions, but this is a daunting task for 10-year-old me. Needless to say, I break down crying. My dad hears me and comes to see what is wrong. I tell him what has happened with my step-mom, and now I don’t know what else to do because I am scared to use the tampons. My dad calms me down, gets me to stop crying, and gives me his best “Cheer up! We’ll solve this!” face.
He takes the instructions out of the box, goes outside the bathroom door to give me privacy, and actually READS THE INSTRUCTIONS OUT LOUD to me so I can use a tampon long enough for us to go to the store for pads! Even at that age, I knew there weren’t many of my female friends whose dads would do something like that for them.
Now that I’m an adult, my dad and I can laugh about the whole thing, but oh, boy, was he mad when step-mom and her mother got back from “shopping.” Especially when they could have easily gotten pads for me while they were out.