So…once I fell in love with reading when I was eight years old, I’ve always been curious. Words were like candy to me and I relished in learning new ones. Now, because I have an equal love of music and get excited when I understand or even better am GIVEN the lyrics to a song, I’m super excited. I like to sing along to the songs I like because it makes me feel good. Alright…GREAT!
Well, just before the beginning of my new love for words, Prince released his infamous Purple Rain album. To my delight, the album sheath contained the lyrics to every song on the album! I would listen to it every time I was able to when I was at my granny’s house. One day, as I listened, I came across a word I didn’t know. I mean, I could say it, and I read it and I heard it in the song, though I couldn’t figure out what it meant.
The song was Darling Nikki. When I came to the word, I figured, I better ask someone what it meant. So, I walked happily into the kitchen where my grandmother was cooking something. Eight year old Kimyatta started the following conversation:
Me: Granny, what is masturbating?
Granny: WHAT? <choking as she was tasting something from the pot>
Me: What is masturbating?
Granny: WHERE YOU HEAR THAT NASTY WORD?
Me: It’s nasty?
Granny: Where did you hear that?
Me: It’s right here on the words for Darling Nikki by Prince. <I pointed to it on the lyric sheet I held.>
She snatched it from me and I pointed to where it was on the sheet.
Granny: TURN THAT OFF!
I was confused. Why couldn’t she tell me what it meant? I had no clue what the word ACTUALLY meant until I hit sex ed three years later in fifth grade. Oh…(though I did wonder how Nikki was doing it with a magazine.)
Fast forward…twenty five years. My dear darling daughter and I walking out the door one morning for school. The girl, eight years old starts the following conversation:
The Girl: Mom, what’s a vibrator?
So, here, I was trying not to fall out the door as I had just stepped over the threshold.
Me: Um…it’s a something that vibrates. (Hey..I’m progressive, I can’t keep everything from her forever, right?)
She got silent and mulled over my answer in her head.
The Girl: Why would people put it in their pants?
Me: Um…where did you hear that?
She wasn’t very forthcoming with her answer. It took the whole ride to school to get it out of her. She had overheard a conversation of two older girls two nights earlier who still were not old enough to be having a conversation about “those things”. I had a conversation with the parents of the other girls who were twelve and we got to the bottom of it. Apparently the cousin of one of Girl A found a vibrator in the house and was running around with it in his pants scaring the girls. So, Girl A was sharing the story with Girl B and my daughter was listening. When she asked them what it was, they said, “go ask your mama”. Well, they didn’t know the girl very well to know that she was going to ask.
Okay, so a year passed by. Age 9 rolls in and I knew eventually I’d have to start having “the talk” with her. After the conversation the previous year, I got a few books on girl’s health and the like and she had read them. So, I figured questions would arrive eventually. One morning, on the way to school, while I was driving she started this conversation:
The Girl: Mom, I understand how G-mama is your mom. She gave birth to you. But how is PaPa your dad?
Me: He helped.
I had managed to keep from swerving the car off the road. That answer seemed to satisfy her. I kept hearing this small voice in my ear saying it was time to really have the talk. I couldn’t bear to do it though and I ignored it.
Two days later, we had the same conversation, though with different characters:
The Girl: Mom, I understand how you’re my mom. You gave birth to me. But how is my dad my dad?
So, here, I figured the same answer would work. So, I answered it the same way.
Me: He helped.
The Girl: Yeah, but how? I mean, how did he help.
Me: He gave me half your DNA.
The Girl: Yes mom, but how?
She was NOT giving up. So, I told her. The ugly gory truth. A look of confusion washed over her face.
The Girl: But you and my dad didn’t do THAT.
I looked at her hard and long and nodded.
The Girl: Oh God…I think I just threw up in my mouth.
Only my kid…so dramatic.
All of this came to mind the other day when I was eating a sandwich and I made a face that I’d seen her make while eating and I began to wonder what other ways we were alike. Now, she’s much more outgoing than I ever was or ever will be. I absolutely love that about her. I think about me at her age and I never would have had the nerve to ask much of the stuff she asks me. She is not embarrassed by anything. I can only wish on her that she will have a WONDERFUL conversation with her 8 year old…in 30 years or so…lol.
Motherhood is the best job ever…
Until next time,