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Training Bras Take Forever

Training Bras Take Forever
© July 2009 April Mitchell

My mother had a large bookcase in the front room of our home in Alachua, Florida. It stood tall and strong, the first thing you saw when you opened the front door. Her books, filling the bottom three shelves, were mysterious and prohibitive in their neat rows. She had older books my Grandmother had passed down to her and newer ones with glossy covers. The funny thing is-I’d never seen her read a book. I cannot drag up a memory of her curled up on the couch with a good book. Yet there they all were lined up as if having them on the shelf breathed life into them. I don’t ever remember her reading to me; no cozy goodnight read aloud sessions took place in our home. The only vivid memory of my mother reading to me was the day she read a Christian paperback version of a sex education book.

I cannot even recall the title of the book, but I think my Mom thought it must have been titled, All You Need Tell Your Child About Sex and Puberty, EVER. She read it to me in serious hushed tones as I sat their next to her in the large blue recliner, my knees skinned up and feet dirty from playing outdoors. She read from the brown pages with the black and white line drawn illustrations. One illustration showing a happy couple holding hands, Mom read about how they were deciding to get married and warned against petting or necking. I had no idea what these terms meant. She read on about menstruation, body changes, and above all stressed, “No sex ever unless you are married!”. Then she gave me the book and said It was mine, I could keep it and read it again.

I poured over the pages that showed illustration of how my body would change. I waited for months for small buds of breast to show up on my slight 10 year old chest. I examined my arm pits in the mirror after every bath looking for the faintest sign of hair. I would hold very still at night and imagine I could feel my body changing, my chest growing larger, my hips growing round; I longed to be a woman.

I didn’t care about all that sex stuff, whatever it was. I just wanted to wear a bra, have my period, and shave my legs to silky soft perfection. My friend Laura had both her period and a bra already. Her mom said all the woman in her family went through puberty early. Uh, if only I could be so lucky. Laura let me try on the pink and blue bras her mother had bought for her, silky soft with little bows in the middle. I stuffed them with tissue, just to see what I might look like with real breasts.

A whole school year went by and no sign of womanhood budding inside me. I’d almost given up hope. The girls in our classroom turned 11 along with me and then started budding out ahead of me, with bras. I had all but given up hope until that first week of summer. I tried on my new swimsuit in the dressing rooms at Penny’s and looked in the mirror. OH MY GOSH! I had small swollen buds protruding slightly from my chest. You could see them. I didn’t want to ask my mom for a bra, I just hoped she’s notice and say “Well dear it looks like you are growing up, shall we go bra shopping?” I walked out of the dressing room my chest puffed out to exaggerate and draw attention. “What do you think mom?” I asked. “Get that suit if you like it. It’s on sale.” She said just glancing my way and then turning back to a swimsuit rack. I inwardly gasped in frustration, she hadn’t even noticed.

All summer as we lived in our swimsuits I prayed that someone anyone would notice that I was growing up. The most important and life changing time in my life, I was becoming a woman and no one noticed.

One day in late August we all gathered out at the neighbor’s pool for the last summer barbecue. The entire swimsuit clad neighborhood loitered about splashing, playing and eating. As I bobbed along on a pink floating ring near the deep end, I overheard the neighbor lady say to my mother. “My! That girl of yours is growing up right before our very eyes. I remember when she was five just headed off to kindergarten with little Tommy and now she’s sprouting breasts.” Someone had noticed. My mother turned towards me and I looked away as if I hadn’t heard a thing. When I got out of the pool I stuck out my chest to exaggerate the small buds on my chest. I felt my mother’s eyes upon me.

Later that night, mom went to kiss me good night and said “I think you are growing up, would you like to go bra shopping tomorrow?” I thought she’d never say it and here it was. I tried to remain calm, although inwardly I was jumping in excitement. “Sure.” I said as if I could care less. We went the next morning and I carried home a shopping bag full of three delicate pink training bras of my very own.

That night in bed I pulled the book out and read, mentally checking off the growing breasts part of puberty. I searched the pages for the next big step to growing up, getting my period. Groaning when I learned, I may not start until as late as age sixteen. Reaching womanhood sure takes forever!

2 COMMENTS (click here!):

Mandy said...

cute. I remember these days. When I was 9 years old I wanted my period so bad! LOL if only i had known what I was wishing for.
You are a great writer.

Anonymous said...

Great story! I remember just turning 11 and desperately wanting - but definitely not needing - a Teenform "Pretty Please' training bra like my best friend Mary, (who was 4 months younger than me, by the way!) had. Finally, when I was about 11 i/2, I started showing some slight but definite signs of development 'up there' and my Mom relented and got me one. I still didn't "need" a bra for support yet, but being a training bra, it had stretch-elastic "gro-cups" so at least it fit. For the first couple of weeks of wearing it, I felt so proud and so, so "grown up". Eventually, the novelty of wearing a bra wore off and by the time I developed enough to actually need to wear a bra for 'support', wearing a bra everyday simply became a mildly unpleasant nuisance and something I had to wear. :( Oh, but those first few weeks! :)

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