I just finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth. (I probably didn't need to add the author there, as many of you might also have read the book.) It was my second attempt at finishing the novel: the first time around, the story didn't hold my interest. But this piece isn't about the book. It's about the fact that no matter what else I might think about Divergent, Roth was successful at keeping the story relatively clean. Tris and Four, two of the main characters, hold hands, kiss, and, at one point, manage to grope one another, but for the most part, I didn't find much that was inappropriate about the book.
Oh wait, there is that one section where Tris is in the midst of an induced hallucination, one in which she must face her fears. Yep, you guessed it, one of her fears is basically...intimacy. Tris says, "This is the fear I have no solutions for--a boy I like, who wants to...have sex with me?" Tris goes on to take control of the situation, in a somewhat lighthearted manner, when she speaks to the hallucination and says, "I am not going to sleep with you in a hallucination. Okay?"
I laughed at that section, but then thought about how the girls might view it. Because yes, they want to read the book. They know about kissing; they know about sex; they know things I don't know, thanks to middle school these days. But do they know what is appropriate and what's not at this point in their lives? Do they understand that sometimes, despite what you feel, that you don't act on the feeling? Do they know that intimacy can be downright scary?
I thought I'd tackle that topic yesterday, when we were trapped in the car together on the way to Kohl's, just the three of us. (We had to return a few things, on a Sunday. I had my doubts, and I won't be doing that again.) The outing gave me the opportunity to speak with the girls, uninterrupted. I told them that if they wanted to read Divergent, that we needed to have a chat. (Walk away now, my friends. Walk away. Or stay, and learn from the best.)
"Okay, mom," they said.
"All right then," I replied.
And then I launched into subjects of which they were already aware and some of which they weren't. About how sex should be between two people that love one another, and that having sex at 16 really isn't a good idea. We talked about how the whole process can be scary and uncomfortable; we talked about what can happen when people have sex--a baby can result and so can some pretty nasty diseases. We then segued into protection and how it should be used EVERY SINGLE TIME, unless you want said baby or diseases. And then, get this, we managed to get onto the topic of conception in our house.
It's my fault, really. I told them that they are the products of we only did it one time without protection. (Say it, girls, we're a poster family!) They laughed, until I then said that after they were born, and I wasn't yet ready for another baby, that Tim and I went back to using protection. And that the one other time we didn't use anything, Aaron was the result. I could hear the gulps from the girls, who were two rows behind me. When I looked in the rearview mirror, their eyebrows were lost in their hairlines.
"Well, what about Melina?" they asked.
"There's a story there, too, ladies," I said, and launched into the details of the monthly cycle, what ovulation is and when it normally occurs, and that you can predict ovulation, if you are very careful and study the cycle.
"I know about when I should ovulate, girls. So if you avoid that time of the month or use protection, it's usually okay. But sometimes, your cycle starts to change. Like mine did. Only I wasn't aware of it at the time. And instead of ovulating on Day 15, I probably ovulated on Day 7 that month."
"And so you got pregnant with Melina?" they asked.
"Yep," I said.
"So she was...like...an accident?" Talia said. Zoe twittered at the question.
"In a way she was, but I can't imagine life without her. Can you?"
"Nope," they both said and sat back, watching the scenery fly by.
No one said it at the time, but that conversation proves it: my conception stories are both funny and something to learn from, all at the same time. It really does only take one time, people! And some of us are so lucky, that one time happens again. And again.
I say this is jest, because it all happened within the confines of marriage, so of course, we were open to the idea of children. (I put that in there for my dad, who sometimes reads this blog. If you want to have a baby outside of marriage, I am not going to stop you. You should be old enough to take care of that baby, though.) But seriously, as usual, there is a lesson to be learned. It really doesn't matter how educated you are. Sex = baby. And if you aren't ready for baby, then don't have sex.