My beautiful little girl was six years old when she asked me wistfully, “When will I get boobies, mommy?”
Seeing my opportunity and buying time, I smiled and said, “Well…one day when you are old enough,” I took a deep cleansing breath, “You will hear a knock at the door.”
In our crapped out trailer, we didn’t have a doorbell.
“When you open the door, be careful stepping around the hole in the floor, so you don’t fall through. It’ll probably still be there; you know how your Dad is about fixing things,” I said, buying more time.
My daughter nodded wisely.
A deeper, even more cleansing breath, and then quickly:
“You will see a teeny tiny little old man with a beard so long that he has to sling it over one shoulder to keep from walking on it.”
“Oh,” she said, doubt and suspicion gathering in her eyes.
I stopped smiling and got serious.
“Don’t worry; you’ll know he’s the right one, because he will be carrying a great big sack over his other shoulder. We call him The Boob Gnome.”
His official status and my brisk confidence in her abilities seemed to reassure her.
“Oooh,” she said, less doubtful, if not less confused.
“Remember, he’ll have his beard slung over one shoulder and a big bag over the other. Don’t forget. It could be a long time yet before he comes. As many as five or six birthdays, maybe more. Anyway, he’ll give you two seeds. You need to swallow them whole. You can drink water with them like mommy when she takes her happy pills. After that your boobies will begin to grow. But…”
“But what?” she asked.
“Well, as soon as you notice that they are growing, you have to come tell me right away. Right away. Don’t even waste a minute.”
“How come?” she asked, eyes widening.
“Don’t worry, it will be OK as long as you come tell me right away. When girls’ boobies are just starting, they are wild. Really wild. When you first get them, IF you tell me right away, we will have time to go to Walmart and get you a training bra. A training bra will catch your boobies before they get big enough to start running wild.”
Any lingering doubts were stifled now by my beautiful little girl’s interest in my story.
“Otherwise,” I went on quickly, “they could pop out anywhere. You never know where wild boobies will want to go. They could pop out on your nose or maybe even your elbow! A good training bra will train your boobies to stay on your upper chest like mommy’s. But you will have to wear a bra the rest of your life like mommy to keep your boobies tame. Some old ladies stop wearing their bras and their boobies run wild all the way down to their bellybuttons!! You wouldn’t want that now, would you?”
“Oh, no,” said my beautiful six year old daughter, who believed fervently in ditch witches and putting her foot down.
“Is that what happened to grandma? Did she stop wearing her bra?”
“Yup,” I said, nodding sadly, “and it’s a good bet that she didn’t get same size seeds either. Oh, uh oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I’m so glad I remembered. Make sure The Boob Gnome gives you same size seeds. He gets in a hurry sometimes with lots of girls to visit, so if he gives you a big seed and a little seed, make sure you give them back. Tell him you want two same size seeds. Be sure to put your foot down about that. I think he gave me a big seed and a little seed. My mommy was drunk the day she told me about The Boob Gnome, and she forgot to tell me to check the seeds. That’s why one of my boobies is bigger than the other.”
“Is that bad Mommy? To have one boobie bigger than the other?”
“Well, luckily for me the one seed wasn’t that much bigger than the other. So at least I don’t need a special reinforced bra with hydraulics like a lowrider. But that IS why your daddy says I walk with a lisp.”
Epiglog (purposeful misspelling, not drugs)
With a few irresistible additions, exaggerations, and inventions, this is largely the same story I told my daughter when she asked me her question when she was six or seven years old. She used my story in high school on an assignment to write about family myths. Unfortunately, I do not still have her version.
Grandma has recovered from her drinking problem due to lack of transportation. To Dad’s great relief, Mommy is currently off the happy pills. We now know why, years ago, we would catch our middle boy at home after school, sitting in front of the TV playing video games, wearing a bra over his T-shirt. We think the reason our youngest son Jonnie fell off the top bunk and out of the back trailer window one night when he was sleeping was because of his dad’s slow home repair schedule.
I’ll never forget his plaintive voice, “Mom, dad! I fell out of the trailer!”
The really surprising thing about this story is that my beautiful grown daughter has not needed nearly as much therapy as her mother. Even more surprising, is that her boobies are perfectly fine and have not migrated far, despite giving me two beautiful grandsons and her irregular bra wearing schedule.