I’ve always called a spade a spade.A vagina a vagina.
And a penis a penis.
This morning I stumbled across a mother’s forum where a woman asks for pet names to call her children’s privates. She states that she always felt awkward when her mom used the word vagina, and she didn’t want to put her daughter through that discomfort.
Oh, my poor, poor children. When one of my teens expressed concerns about drinking after me, I joked that “I pushed you out of my body between my loins, and you’re worried about my germs?”
Fortunately, it didn’t backfire, and it has become a longstanding bit of family humor, but that wouldn’t have been the case had I been afraid to talk about everything—from body parts to sex—with the fruits of my labor.
As embarrassing as my children might have found this dialogue when they were growing up, at least I know, as they go away to college, that they won’t be confusing the campus nurse by telling her something is wrong with their twinky or winky…
Heck, forget the school staff—I won’t be confused when they come to me to discuss delicate issues.
But will they come to me? I have wondered, as the teenage pulling-away years have progressed.
Have I been successful in teaching them to be independent, yet know that I am always here if they need me?
Will they feel comfortable enough, safe enough, to come to me as they mature into the men and women they will be?
I love this piece, one where a mother reflects on whether or not she taught her son how to properly boil an egg, if she properly prepared him for the real world.
“I can give you the fish, or I can teach you to fish,” someone responds to her son.
I know I taught my children how to keep a house clean.
|Our Family Guide to a Happy, Healthy Home
The HHH Schedule—acronym for Happy, Healthy Home—on my fridge is proof that my children can take care of their animals, run a vacuum, sweep floors, dust furniture, scrub toilets and sinks, and do laundry.
(The operative word being can…)
Why, my daughter begged me when she was four years old to assign her Bathroom Duty.
I worried about the harsh chemicals, so I made her wait until she was six.
She was elated to finally be able to do something her big brother had been doing.
For a while. Until she came to understand the meaning of the word chore.
My children also know their way around a kitchen, how to wash dishes, and where all of the gadgets and gizmos go.
My daughter began making some mean chocolate chip pancakes when she was about eleven.
My youngest boy made us some pretty tasty scrambled eggs when he was about twelve.
And my oldest boy? Well, I might have taught him to boil water, but his sister is the one who taught him how to make boxed mac ‘n cheese.
As the story goes, her brother enlisted her help one day when his meal wasn’t quite working out.
Evidently he’d just filled a pot with water and dumped all of the ingredients in at once…
Two years ago that boy went away to a college with no dorms and no dining halls, twenty-four hours from home.
And he took the fishing pole Warren had given him, one of the ones he and his siblings used on their many outings with Daddy.
When Fave Son left, the two of us were experiencing that awful tearing-away-from-Mom, I-don’t-never-will-need-you-again phase.
Sometimes, when his silence and seemingly snobbish ways threatened to bring me to tears, I would recall the conversation with our nurse practitioner: “My husband used to say to me, ‘You taught them to be independent. You can’t take it all back now.’ ”
Apparently what we hadn’t taught him in the way of taking care of himself he learned by using all of the other life skills we’d provided him with.
He not only hasn’t starved to death, he’s quite fit.
And he’s not only outgrown much of that pulling away phase, he’s recently solicited my advice on topics ranging from…well, personal to private…
Two to go.
We took our daughter to college two weeks ago.
She, too, took her fishing pole, the travel-sized one her little brother bought for her, just before she moved away.
I felt a twinge of sadness as I stood in front of the grocery cooler and realized I no longer need to purchase skim milk.
I miss my “Good morning, Beauty,” ritual.
I miss her warm smile, the one that melts your heart and lights up a room.
I miss her complaining about people being gossipy and girls being mean.
I miss her closed bedroom door, the one we threatened numerous times to remove from its hinges if she didn’t come out of her cave from time to time.
I miss the lilt in her voice, the one she has when she wants to talk to me about something she knows I might not like.
Was I aware of my own strengths earlier enough in her life to model some modicum of self assurance?
Have I taught her right?
Have I taught her enough?
Will she, too, someday come to me, to discuss everything from the personal to her privates, and to feel confident enough to call a spade a spade…