I texted my friend:
I’m thinking about sexual purity and bodily agency and what do I talk to my daughters about?
I was just about to text you. So many issues arose and this parenting teenagers is so damn hard.”
We had a short conversation about how the kids were doing and we patted each other on the back about how awesome we were doing as parents. I was reminded about how hard it seemed when these two big girls were wee ones. When wasting shampoo and smashing banana in the carpet was the biggest stress. When naptime lasted an hour and the space between 2 and bedtime seemed to last infinitely every single day. And it was hard. Those are long, and often lonely days.
I texted my friend:
When they’re little, they forget the mistakes we make. I feel like I can no longer afford any mistakes.”
Teenagers can make mistakes that cost them. Parents can make mistakes that hang around for years in the kid’s memory. The stakes are so high. Dropping the toddler a time too many seems minor compared the stuff kids deal with in high school. Just kidding. Don’t drop the toddler. (This is in no way to invalidate or minimize the parenting of younger kids. Dude. It’s ALL hard.)
So, I’m asking you.
I’m working on a post for Deeper Family later this week. Recent adventures in parenting have left me wading through the complicated waves of faith and sexuality. Because oh, my gosh, I have two teenaged daughters and it has suddenly occurred to me that they will not be, are no longer, my little angel babies. They are beautiful young women. And you know, sometimes, boys happen to, like, notice that or whatever.
I’m reminded of the messages I heard, or didn’t hear, about sex from church leaders, my parents, and my friends. It’s confusing. It’s complicated. It’s often covered in a layer of shame that’s icky and no fun at all. I wish I had heard….well, actually, I heard some pretty good stuff about sex from my parents and church.
But I know a lot of my friends didn’t. What do you wish you heard from someone important to you about sexuality and faith? What is most important for you to communicate to the children in your life? What’s the best thing you heard? What was the worst?
I’ll link up to the post on Thursday. Thanks so much.