No one wanted to get the dreaded needle, of course. But without it, you couldn't get on that glorious yellow schoolbus. And, for Pete's sake, what WAS the point of living if you didn't go to school? So, one by one, whether we went to the doctor's office or the county health clinic, whether we bravely rolled up our sleeve or went down kicking and screaming, whether we brought home a yellow balloon or a red lollipop, we got immunized. Shots happen.
Other benchmark moments included losing baby teeth (proud to be one of the first), riding a two-wheeler (definitely one of the last) and jumping off the high-dive (ten bucks from Mom and the loudest belly flop the Canyon Racquet Club had ever seen).
As a tween and young teen, the girltalk turned to training bras, leg-shaving and what the school nurse called Maturation. Oh, how we giggled at those embarassing TV commercials with the butterflies and the girls in white shorts! It was horrible and fascinating.
But, one by one, whether we were ready or not, Old Lady Puberty started in on us. By the end of ninth grade, we all emerged from her clutches, humbled by acne and bad perms. Embarassed-slash-proud that we were starting to look like grown ups.
High school female chatter was all about the driver's license and the junior prom. (Don't ask.) In our twenties, we discussed getting a degree, an apartment, a job, a husband. By my early thirties, I had been to so many baby showers, I could recite hundreds of pregnancy, labor and delivery stories without ever having set foot in a maternity ward.
And when I did finally get my babies, I had all kinds of mommy mentors to guide me. Because girlfriends talk and share and warn and advise.
So, girlfriends. What's next?
In six weeks, I will be 40 years old and I'm not sure what that means. If 5 year olds go to kindergarten and 16 year olds learn to drive, what do 40 year olds do?
If you are a member of Club Forty, I would love to hear from you. I know you have some good advice for me, girlfriends always do. What do you love about this decade? Any books, workouts, products you think a newbie should know about? Any regrets? Any secrets?
I don't know if I want to kick and scream all the way or just take a deep breath and roll up my sleeve. But, I guess, like that dreaded kindergarten needle, forty is inevitable.
Red lollipop, anyone?