Yes. You read that right. I’ll piece it together for you.
1. Cumshots. My mom’s parenting philosophy included always answering questions honestly. Looking back I can recognize that of course she would answer age appropriately, but the key was that she never dismissed me. Of course Charles would have agreed with this parenting decision, but the relationship I had with mom makes me remember the interactions I had with her in these situations.
I have overheard other parents answer their children’s questions with, “You are too young to know that” or “You don’t need to know that yet” or “You shouldn’t be asking that”. Whereas with my mom, by her always answering my questions when I was younger, created this trust between us and open dialogue. I was able come to her as a teen with tougher questions, because I had no fear of her reaction or response, and this kept me from turning to my friends where most likely, I wouldn’t have gotten the correct information. It made me always have the confidence and ability to ask the hard questions. And that’s what I want Arrine to feel too.
I have never written about the memory I am going to share with you, but I know I have retold it when I’ve been in a discussion about my mom’s parenting. And I feel I have reached a place where I can retell this through word now too.
Grade 7. A boy at school called a classmate of mine a “cumshot”. I went home and since I didn’t know what a cumshot was, I asked my mom. Her response? “I’m pretty sure I know, Princess Kae, but I am going to double check with your dad and then let you know.” Not, “That is a bad word! Don’t ever use it.” Or “Your friends should not be using language like that.” She left the room, conferred with my dad, returned, and said, “Yup, it’s what I thought it was…” and proceeded to explain it to me. I would have been about 11 years old?? And she just answered my question like it was, “Mom, why are we suppose to eat vegetables?”
I felt as though she respected me as a person, and that my questions and thoughts and opinions mattered. And that created a unique bond between us, that I know many of my friends longed for with their moms.
Perhaps I haven’t shared this before, because I worried about the debate it can easily open up regarding parenting styles. Or that someone may judge her for her openness. But I am in a place now where that doesn’t matter to me. I know how her honesty with me has allowed me to be honest with myself, and that’s a personality trait I have been told by my friends is not common and in turn, can help my friends when I am honest about myself. I’ll take it.
2. Death. Arrine asks questions about Grandma Anne-Marie. I see no reason to sugar coat the reality. Yes, I can bring it to her level, but pretending like Grandma is on an extended vacation or we don’t talk about her, just aren’t options for me. If Arrine asks, I answer. It seems only appropriate that I continue my mom’s parenting philosophy when explaining to her daughter about her lack of physical presence with us. And I should note that Nick agrees with this as well.
Today on the way home from daycare in the car, this was our conversation:
Kirsten: Arrine, we need to make Valentines for Daddy and Grandpa Charlie when we get home. We’ll use red paper and stickers.
Arrine: Did you buy ValetiMes stickers?
K: No, I have some of Grandma Anne-Marie’s stickers that we can use.
A: Why do you have her stickers?
K: When she died, I kept some of her things. I wanted to use her stickers and not just throw them away.
A: Why did she die again?
K: Grandma had a really rare disease and got really sick and the doctors couldn’t make her better. It was really sad.
A: Her skin disappeared?
K: No, she still had her skin, but she was really thin and weak and slept a lot.
A: She was just bones?
K: No, remember when Alby was really sick and he lost all that weight? That’s what Grandma Anne-Marie was like.
A: Yah…but then Alby got fat again.
K: I know, but Grandma Anne-Marie didn’t get better. Sometimes there’s nothing for the doctors to do.
K: It just happens….but Grandma Anne-Marie would have loved to have met you and she would be so proud of you. And even though she isn’t here with us in person, she’s in our hearts and our spirits and is always with us.
And then Arrine put her chubby cheeks into her chubby hands, covered her eyes and had a little cry. And so then I cried too.
3. Cumshots, Kids & Death. Thoughts?