Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Birds & Bees

A few days ago I tried to write a has been awhile.  I sat at my laptop totally uninspired.  I could have forced something, but that would defeat the purpose.  I blog, because there are times when beautiful things happen...I want to share those things.  I want to blog when the words pour through my they are today.  I found my inspiration in my lovely 10 year old daughter.

She turned 10 recently, and the"big talk" was long overdue.  I have had a handful of perfect opportunities, which I cowered away from promptly.  This, I'm aware, happened for two reasons which both put me into flight mode.  One, I'm not the picture of perfect sexual health.  It's been a long road, and my sexuality has not always been celebrated.  In fact, it's sometimes been a winding, twisting road of negativity.  This is not what I want to pass on to my daughter.  Two, the way my mom taught me about sex was riddled with shame and uneasiness, leaving me without a clear model of what I wanted to do and say to my own daughter.

Then it occurred to me...I know exactly how to teach my daughter regardless of my own successes or failures, and regardless of anything my parents ever did or didn't do.  My experience does not have to be my daughter's experience, unless I keep living in the past.  I know that I want to teach her about how miraculous our bodies are and how natural physical development and sexuality is.  I know that I want to inform her about the risks and the dangers.  I know that she is a highly intelligent girl who would not put a negative spin on any of this information, unless I served it to her that way.  Suddenly I felt the greatest relief.  I didn't have to have a plan...I didn't have to be in fear.  I needed to keep it simple!  Now I knew I was in the flow, because my perspective had changed.  I was now secure, instead of wanting to run away. 

That day I had already planned to take my kids to the library.  While I was there, I was suddenly struck with the idea to look for a kid-friendly book that may help during our chat.  Ah-ha!  An insight!  A book would help me teach what I wanted to teach.  This is no earth shattering piece of information, but I would not have had the idea if I had stayed in my head....if I had stayed in my fearful thinking.  I needed to clear my head and let wisdom guide me.  Just like that,  I ended up finding the perfect book that was very informative, with all the correct terminology, but still short and lighthearted.  I chose the book, basically, because when I opened a page in the middle it said "these changes are happening to you that make you more like an adult, but you are really still a kid."  This was literally, what I wanted to hear when I was hitting puberty, and so it was a sign! 

I asked my daughter to come into the bathroom to chat with me while I showered that morning.  I asked her if she would like to go out with me that day to have a special girl's talk now that she was 10.  She was so excited, and when she found out what we'd be talking about her excitement did not diminish.  All morning she was hugging and kissing me...sending me little lovey faces from across the room.  I could feel how much she felt valued and respected.  I could feel how I was creating open communication, and how gratefully that was being received.  I knew that I was getting it right and that I was establishing myself as someone she could talk to and come to for information.  There was a new spring in my step that has not faded away.

And so we had our little talk.  We went somewhere pretty outside where we could just chat, listen, and learn from each other.  That's what we did.  She did not have a lot to say, but we held hands and held each other's gaze for longer than we have in years.  I felt a whole new connection to her.  Without even discussing it I could feel a new level to our relationship.  All I can say to try to explain it, is that it felt like love...of course I always love her and she loves me, but this kind of love was tangible, being born and redefined in real time.

It's been a couple of days since our talk, and the feeling of new, strong connection continues.  She often comes up to me now and kisses or hugs me without any words.  We just smile at each other and look into each other's eyes.  No explanation needed.  When I lay down in bed, she finds me and snuggles with me like she used to as a baby or toddler.  The feeling we have together is so strong...I am so lucky.

To think I almost missed this!  To think I almost let her remain uninformed and feel alone because I felt insecure is a travesty.  I know the feeling of puberty hitting hard and of feeling unsure of myself & unsure of how to talk to my mom.  That was hard, and I don't want that for my sweet girl.  I know my mom did the best she could.  I know she was nervous and unsure of how to teach me...I know this because I felt that way too up until a few days ago.  I'm so thankful that I've learned to question my logic or thoughts when my feeling-state is off.  I'm so glad that I've learned to recognize how easy change is once I get out of my head.  The confidence my daughter feels now, knowing the facts and that she can count on me, is contagious.  All it took was to remember that I hold all of the answers that I ever search for...naturally and innately, like the birds & bees just know how to fly.