Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.

That’s true—it always feels so good to unconditionally share love or goodwill with someone when they least expect it. Be the one who gives a friend a hug or a pick-me-up when they need it. It’s what all the holiday Lifetime specials are about….. [Oh—and even the Peanuts cartoons too] As much as those shows irk me, giving does leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Not always so with unsought information…..

You know—when people “overshare” things with you. And you want to invoke the “TMI” clause instantly to put an end to the images forming in your head. Seriously, I could have gone through life quite happily without knowing a lot of stuff people have casually included in conversation.

Then there are the things you need to tell others, but find it very difficult to do…..

Like, you know, um, the [sex] talk. I tended to wait until my kids asked me a question, then I would ask what they thought it was/meant. [Very helpful in gauging how much or how little information to impart.] Fortunately, the kids felt comfortable asking me pretty much anything. Their Dad was hurt they weren’t consulting him—until he found out what they were asking! “Oh…well….okay then… uh, you can handle it then.”

Sometimes it was uncomfortable to answer and sometimes it was hard to keep a straight face. But I always had the conversations—anything was better, I felt, than how I found out about the “birds and bees.”

I was about 9 years old and my brothers and I were home alone on a Friday night—our parents used to have a date night on Fridays. Well, Older Brother [OB], then almost 12, says that he and 8 year old Younger Brother [YB] were going to have a boxing match and I was going to be the ref. Fine by me—as long as they weren’t hitting me I was down with it. He said they were going to go put on their swim trunks and robes so they’d look like real boxers. Okay, whatever. Again, as long as they weren’t torturing me, I was happy.

So, about 20 minutes go by and they come downstairs in their bathrobes. I go through the whole “In this corner, weighing in at…” routine and ding our doorbell for them to take off their robes and come out fighting.

Well, they took off their robes—and they were both naked. I screamed and covered up my 9 year old eyes. YB immediately puts his robe back on, but OB sits down nude and starts telling me the facts of life. I didn’t believe him—it all just sounded too weird.
Many years later, I got even less help from our health class in high school—as taught by a nun: “If god is so willing, a man and a woman will conceive a child.” Thanks Sister that helps a lot. [No wonder so many girls got pregnant] My mother finally cleared it all up for me …

and, of course, I have eagerly pursued a higher education ever since.

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