When my daughter was eight, she popped the question on me. We had just pulled into a grocery store parking lot. I was checking my phone quickly before we went inside, when she said out of nowhere, “Hey Mom… What’s S-E-X?”
She spelled it. Just like that. And then sat there staring at me.
“Ohmygod, I don’t think I can do this.”
It just popped out of my mouth, spontaneously. I sat there shaking my head no, staring at my little girl.
She reached up, placed a hand on the side of my face, and calmly said, “You can do it, Mommy.”
It was incredibly sweet and touching, and that reassurance was enough to snap me back into the present. I had to be the adult here. I took a deep breath.
“What do you think it is?” I asked.
“When two people take off all their clothes except their underwear, and they kiss and squish themselves together.” She hilariously wrapped her arms around herself and turned her back to me, doing the famous kid making-out pantomime that seems to be timeless, stretching across generations.
“Well… Kind of.”
Turns out, she was right. I could do it.
Once I got over the awkwardness, it wasn’t even all that bad.
We talked about penises and vaginas. I kept it as clinical and as straight forward as I could. I didn’t say, “When two people love each other.” I didn’t use slang words, and I didn’t shy away from specifics. I also didn’t say anything more than I absolutely had to. I simply answered her question. Then I asked her if she had any questions. And I answered the one or two clarifying questions she tossed at me.
We got out of the car to go grocery shopping. The end.
Except, of course, not really the end at all. It’s hilarious that I kind of thought that, even for a second, there was ever going to be an end to this conversation.
Sixty minutes later, we were back in the car, driving out of the parking lot.
“So…” she draws it out, slowly, “did you have sex with Ben?”
Ben is my ex.
I choked on my own spit and looked at her like she had lost her damn mind.
“OMG. I did not say that! I can’t believe I said that! Said what?! Nothing. I said absolutely NOTHING. I definitely said nothing. NOTHING. Do you hear me? Do not answer that question that I did NOT just ask you.”
I burst out laughing.
“So….” she starts again, “what’s for dinner?”
And that was the start of the what would become an open conversation about sex, with my too smart for my own good daughter.
It was awkward.
But it was also funny. Sweet. Charming.
It was a dance, for both of us.
What’s too much?
What’s not enough?
Where are the lines?
We still don’t know the answers to all of these questions, and the dance isn’t made any easier by the fact that those lines move. She’s ten now, and it’s a different conversation than when she was eight. Each year, each month, we have to do a little deeper into what it means to be a woman, to have a body. Like that body, the conversation is ever-changing. But we work on it, together.
It’s a journey… and that journey, it’s hilarious.
This blog was born out of that hilarity.
Sex is awkward. Parenting is hard. But maybe parenting tween-age girls through the sex talk, and puberty, and into young adulthood, doesn’t have to be all awkward and hard. Maybe, it can even be fun… sometimes. Maybe, we can even laugh at ourselves as we go.
Rory and I made a deal. We decided to start this together. Nothing gets shared without her consent (Another important lesson to teach young girls, but that’s another blog). Anything posted, any quotes from my darling comedic genius’s mouth, any stories told, are real. They are raw. And they are shared with you with the express purpose to make you laugh, make you feel, and maybe, make you feel inspired.
I hope you enjoy reading about our journey, through all the things sex, and all the things silly, and everything in between.