The closest thing I have to a sister is one of my brothers' wives, L. Over the years, L has been a confidante, a counselor, someone to laugh with and commiserate with. She began dating my brother when I was still in high school so she has seen me through my first big heartbreak, college applications, sorority rush, choosing a major, my second big heartbreak, the decision to go to graduate school, my first experience with the death of a close family member, graduation, real job interviews, my reunion with and subsequent marriage to my second heartbreaker, the birth of my sons, life as a stay-at-home mom, and on and on. She has always been a few steps ahead of me in life experiences so she could always share insight on what to expect on my next endeavor.
The only problem is that many times I believe she withheld pertinent information. I didn't see this until much later in our relationship so I can't cite any early examples. Most of the situations seem to be centered around pregnancy, childbirth and raising children. Like when I was pregnant for the first time. She was thrilled and was full of advice for me. She told me about morning sickness and cravings and sleeping on your side and all the things that I had read in a book or heard from my ob/gyn. There were a few fun pregnancy related body situations that I experienced that I didn't expect, like having to sit on a medical donut for the last six weeks of work (not going to give you any more details that than) before the baby was born. When I talked about it to L she said, "Oh, I'm sorry. There may have been a few details I forgot to mention." I thought, oh well, no big deal.
And then, after my first son was born, when I was deep in the throes of sleep deprivation and sore areolas, I talked to her one day between crying jags about how hard these first few weeks had been. And she said, "Oh, I'm sorry. There may have been a few details I forgot to mention." Something in the back of my hormone addled mind noted a tinge of familiarity with that statement, but I paid it no attention. I was too engrossed in feeding schedules and dirty diapers to spend anytime questioning her response.
There were many other times in the ensuing years when her tag line came out. And I began to notice a little twinkle in her eye as she said the words. Her mouth even curled up mockingly a few times but she quickly recover to a face of concern. But the twinkle remained.
Then when I had a toddler and a preschooler running around the house and driving me to levels of madness I had not known existed, she gave it to me again. I can't even recall what the boys were doing at the time. I only remember my desperate, raging stage of mind and those words again..."Oh, I'm sorry. There may have been a few details I forgot to mention." But this time, there was a laugh! I distinctly heard her laugh. She even threw her head back in delight at the sheer humor she found in my situation!
Then I knew it for sure. There is a secret women's club. It's a club of many but each woman is her own little franchise of the bigger club. On the surface this larger club is all about women sharing womanly experiences and making it better for the next generation. But the little satellite entities have a different agenda. Their job is to have the appearance of following the larger group's mission all the while keeping the dirty details of the female reality out of the hands of the newbies until they are too far gone down the path of motherhood to turn back. That day when L laughed (in my face!) was my initiation into the club. I had shown my worthiness and had gone far enough into the motherly realm to be welcomed as a true sister in the club.
What is the purpose of this secret club you wonder? I'll tell you. It's for the preservation of mankind. If young women embarking on the path of motherhood had access to the full blueprint of what was coming their way, the birthrate across that planet would plummet to nil. If young wives and first time preggers had an inkling of what their bodies and minds were about to undergo, things would get really ugly. And it starts even earlier than that...why do you think pubescent teens are taught to say things like, "Aunt Flo is visiting." It's so the younger ones have no idea what the heck they are talking about. Keep 'em in the dark until its too late.You just can't trust the uninitiated mind with this level of reality. It's not until some point (and it's different for each woman) that a woman is able to handle the depths of motherhood and be trusted not to do something rash. You have heard that some animals eat their young. Sadly, these animals don't have access to the club.
The benefit of the club to both the women who make it to initiation and to the world as a whole is that the mothers get to the point where the sacrifice and humbling nature of motherhood becomes well worth it to them. And their children thrive and survive and grow up be adults. And some of them (the girls) grow up and start the process themselves. But even their own mothers can't and won't give them all the details. The survival of our species depends on it.
Now I could hold a lot of other women in my life responsible since they didn't seem to be shelling out much information to me either. But L seems to be the only one with the infamous tagline. I came to find out, the club has a structure like a sorority "little sister" thing or an AA sponsor. You're paired up with in a mentor relationship. It's works best that way.
So now when L says to me, "Oh, I'm sorry. There may have been a few details I forgot to mention, " I think of it as a secret handshake. The key to the city. Although, I do have a suspicion that there is another inner circle that I have yet to be brought into. I think it's got something to do with the another big life change I may be embarking on in the next 5-10 years. But so far L's not giving me many details. But I'll know something big is coming when I hear that tell-tale laugh again.