A couple of months before Vincent was conceived, Sarah and I had a talk. No, not just A talk. THE talk. You know...my parents called it "The Birds and The Bees" talk. I don't know what I want to call it.
It wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I figured I'd just shoot straight. Sarah had always been keen on the subject anyway. I mean, she was 5 when she said to me, "Ok Mom...I know GOD puts the baby in your tummy...what I really want to know is HOW God puts the baby in your tummy." While pregnant with Helen we had referred lovingly to God putting babies in mommy's tummies (my sisters and one of my brother's wives were all expecting babies within a year of Helen's birth...so Sarah saw lots of pregnant women). Back then, I had simply told her that Mommy and Daddy have a special hug and when they are done, God sometimes blesses them with a baby to grow in Mommy's tummy. I figured that was as graphic as I ought to get with a 5-year-old.
Earlier in the summer, I had brought home women's sanitary supplies from the store and asked Sarah to put them in the bathroom. Later, I noticed the boxes had been opened. So I had asked Sarah if she'd looked in the boxes and she admitted she had. I asked her if she had any questions, but she'd declined. Sarah was entering 4th grade, and while she wasn't really close to the physical changes she needed to know about for girls, some of the girls in her class might be and the last thing I wanted was for her to get information from classmates instead of from me or her father. So, I decided to see if she had any questions again...this time, she just asked what "that stuff" was for.
And THE talk began. We talked about physical changes in her body that would be forthcoming, we talked about deodorant and showers and the necessity of combing or brushing her hair. Ultimately, we got to the part about how babies come about and we talked about that, too. She had some funny statements that I'll keep private in case she'd ever read this...I don't want to embarrass her (publicly anyway :) )
THE talk actually went quite well. She seemed a little put off by the logistics of the act (duh...she's 10!...well she was 9 at the time), but quite comfortable with the idea of it being something saved for marriage and for one person. It did make it easier to explain things since she had a brother. Wow, I have no idea how I'd explain it if she hadn't seen her baby brother and known how he was different from girls. Of course, I also was aure to tell her other kids really ought to talk to their parents and if kids start to talk about this stuff, she ought to say "I think you are supposed to talk to your mom about that."
The thing is, that talk wasn't really all that hard to have. But it's spurred all these other talks in my brain that haven't happened yet.
You know, the talk when she's 12-14 and the physical changes come to life for her and I need to reassure her she's beautiful, this is normal and everything is going to be just fine.
And maybe the talk when she's 11-14 or 16 trying to explain why certain physical changes haven't come yet and reassure her that she's just fine, that it happens eventually.
Or the talk that might happen around age 12-14 spurred by the fact that her sister who is 2 years younger than she is might be going through the exact physical changes at the same time she is (Dani seems to develop physically on a little faster pace than Sarah)...that one might be interesting.
And maybe the talk when she's 12-14 trying to console her when her younger sister beats her to the physical changes. As she grows, I am getting a little less convinced that Dani will beat Sarah to these changes (Sarah is almost 80 pounds now, that surprised me the other day!) But it's still a possibility as Dani is only about 7 pounds lighter than Sarah. They may be hitting that 105 pound mark together or very close.
Then there's that talk I've been having with her when I'm alone in my car...the one I'm prepping for when she's 16 or 17 and perhaps interested in going on dates with boys. She's not going to want to go on dates is she? Can I just push that talk to the back of my brain and pray the opportunity never presents itself?
Yes, I think we need this to become a regular in Craig's active wardrobe:
But, I know the day will come when she's ready.
Whether I am ready or not, she will need to spread her wings. She most likely will go off to college and do a lot of growing up away from me. She may come home on her first semester break a completely different girl than the one I sent off at the beginning of the semester. Through all of that, she'll need to discern her vocation, and if that happens to be marriage and family, she'll need to discern her spouse. She'll have to spend time alone with a boy/man. She'll have to make decisions and live with consequences. Regardless, I need to be prepared to be there for her--whether to counsel support or let her cry on my shoulder while her heart breaks.
I often remind myself that even though my road to where I am wasn't what I would wish for my daughters (at all!!!) God still found a way to lead me here.
My experiences made me who I am today. I have scars. I have my own stupidity to look back on. But I also have this graceful emergence to where I am now.
My children-turned-adults will have their own experiences, they may end up with scars and may have their own stupidity to look back on. I can pray the bad is limited and the good and right shines through.
I'm reminded what I have been told many times. As a parent, you do the best you can to raise your children right...and then you pray like the dickens.
So, I'm doing the best I can and I'm praying like the dickens.