Yesterday I took my daughter to the library.
We walked to the back wall, pushed open an inconspicuous door that matched the wood paneling, turned a corner, and suddenly found ourselves in a conference room with one glass wall and chairs set up in anticipation of our arrival.
For the next four hours, my daughter and I worked together, learned together, had fun together, and practiced communicating on subjects like beauty, body image, puberty, emotional health, peer pressure, menstruation, the reproductive system, and self-awareness. We did a craft together, cutting and pasting and designing posters highlighting that characteristics of our personalities that we are proudest of. We learned things about each other. We ate pizza. We watched videos, including this one:
We were all shy at first, even though we knew we were there to talk about "the girl things". But, guided by three confident and cheerful women in pink t-shirts, we soon realized we were completely safe in our little room tucked away in the depths of the library. We settled in and got comfortable, with each other and with ourselves. We talked about shaving, about acne, about eating disorders. We learned about pads and tampons, how to use them, when to change them, how to dispose of them. And the discussions we had set the stage for conversations to come, when we work through the rest of the material in the take-home packet: conversations about dating, about privacy and trust, about the many facets of sexuality and respect and responsibility.
I went away feeling that my bond with my eleven-year-old was closer than it had ever been, even as she differentiates and grows ever more independent. I felt supported as a parent and nurtured as a woman. My daughter left feeling empowered, confident that she can talk comfortably to me about anything, that she has the information she needs and that there are numerous resources she can turn to for more.
The entire event was such an invaluable resource that it saddens me to report that only five of us moms showed up, that only six girls walked out with these fun shoulder bags that will remind them of the messages shared at the Mother/Daughter Workshop.
Which was all offered free of charge....
by the lovely ladies at...