Posted by: gdevi | November 30, 2015

The Parent Talk

Long before Christmas, there is the first day of hunting in Pennsylvania. The school district is closed today and tomorrow. So my daughter was home. I came back from work around 4 like I normally do and we were talking about her day at home and my day at work, when she suddenly said, “mama, come here, I want to have the parent talk. From one parent to another.” I looked around. K was not home and there was only myself and my daughter. Who is the other parent, honey? I asked. Me, my daughter said, I am going to be a parent in another ten years, she said. I hope I will have a boy, she added. You can tell off boys, she said. You can’t tell off girls. I hope you will wait until you are thirty or something to have kids, I told my daughter. You are fifteen now and twenty five sounds young, I said. Jesus was thirty three when he founded christianity, I said; it is a good age to start a family.

But mama, my daughter said, you know how I don’t smoke or take drugs or drink alcohol or run around with boys etc. But you are not at all on my case, mama, she said. I mean you don’t tell me not to smoke or drink or take drugs or run around with boys. I know these things. I mean like there are some parents who are constantly on the back of their kids. And those kids do these very bad things and are all messed up. You don’t tell me not to do anything. I just don’t do them, she said.

Yeah, that is right, honey, I said. I have to tell you something, I told her–have you noticed that I only ask you to do something or not to do something only once? See, that is who I am. I have never begged, pleaded, ordered, pressured, coerced anything from anyone ever anywhere. All of that is anathema to me. I am rational to a fault. If I ask you something and you don’t do it, then, really that is your choice. I am not going to be on your case about it, as you said. Your dad and I will always support you and love you, but you don’t have to do anything for me. You should live a careful life because it is good for you, not for me.

I have a friend, I told her. You know S.? I asked her. She nodded. See, S. was in her mid thirties when she met M. the man she would later marry. S. was like me, I said–sort of a nerd and lived the proverbial scholar’s life. M. had had several relationships when they met and had had multiple sexual partners before S. The one thing S. asked M. to do before they started dating as a couple was to get an HIV test. Did he do it, my daughter asked me. Yes, I said. M. loved S. very much and understood S.’s concerns quite clearly. In fact, when you go to their house, in their bedroom next to S’s bed, there is a little photo frame with an origami bird in it. You know what it is? I asked her.  M. took his test result printout and made a little origami bird with it–negative and clean bill of health–and put it inside that nice little frame for her and gave it to her on their first date.  He is a very good man. It was very sweet of M to do that for S., don’t you think? I asked her. You should never gamble with anyone’s life, starting with your own. Wow, my daughter said.

Good, I said. Are we done with the parent talk? I asked her. I love you, honey, I told her. Come and eat some pasta before soccer.

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