When I was in junior high, my mom decided it would be a good time to sit my brother, myself, and my sister down for a frank talk about sex. When we were growing up, you didn't get an actual sex talk at school until you reached high school. There you learned that everything you did naked or partially naked could lead to babies and worse yet... rotten genitalia, burning urination, and all sorts of filth and disease.
It started out uncomfortable enough. Given the fact that my grandmother probably never discussed sex with her children, my mom was doing a bang up job! There were nervous giggles, awkward pauses, and finally... the words that ended the discussion altogether. "Yeah, Ryan. If some girl tells you not to worry. You won't get pregnant the first time. Don't believe her!" said my precocious little sister. My mom replied, "If you're not going to take this seriously we're not going to talk about it!" And we all laughed (except her).
Sure that I was following the handbook, when my daughter was in 6th grade I thought it might be a good idea to have "the talk" with her. I thought surely, by the age of 12 she must have some inkling as to what went on between adults behind closed doors. It was time. I sat her down (without her younger brother) and calmly tried to explain sex. I didn't want her to only see the clinical view of sex that kids learn through the standard class at school. I wanted her to understand that there was more to it than making babies.
I carefully explained that sex is something that is shared between two adults who love each other. It's an act of affection that is meant to show love, appreciation, and emotion. I wanted her to understand that it was a very special gift that you reserved for someone important that you wanted to share your inner most emotions and feelings with. There was a lot of nodding, a few looks of confusion, and what appeared to be some "ah ha!" moments. When the conversation drew to a close, I asked if she had any questions. She had some small questions that dealt more with things she had heard in class, but all in all it was pretty cut and dried. I was relieved.
Not more than a week later I realized that as much as I wanted our conversation to be open and honest, I forgot to explain that sex is a private matter between two people. I opened the door to the bedroom one morning to find a neatly folded note on the floor outside the door. I don't know why, but I immediately panicked. My first thought was that she had run away in the middle of the night and left me a goodbye note.
I quickly snapped up the note and opened it with my heart in my throat. When I read the words that she had written, I was torn between complete embarrassment and hysterical laughter.
I got up to go to the bathroom last night late and your door was open a little. You didn't have your clothes on. Were you showing **** your appreciation?
Obviously a second talk was in order. She's not asked me about my sex life since, thank God. But now, at 18 years old as she heads out the door for dates with her boyfriend, I am always tempted to throw out a word of warning, "Be careful how you show your appreciation!"
I kept that note with me for years. I'm sure it's around here somewhere and one of these days when I am packing to move... I will stumble upon that note and remember how innocent she was, how much she's grown, and how handbook or not both of my kids have turned out pretty damn great.