January 31, 2009

Sex & Love- A Father Speaks

Ah the joys of fatherhood are never ending. The inquisitive lad you know as Little Jack has struck again and insisted that I explain love, divorce and girls in general to him. That little rascal reminds me of the Terminator. He is relentless and unstoppable. You can divert his attention but sooner or later he will be back.

We have been over this ground on a number of occasions. Here is an incomplete list of posts that help to provide some background:
Not Quite a Recap- Let's Talk about Body Parts
Dear Tooth Fairy
She Broke My Penis
For A Good Time Call...
A Life Without Regrets
Mr Nobody Made Me Do it
Proud and Humbled By the Four-Year-Old
Things My Four-Year-Old Has Done
A Six Year Old WondersWhere Babies Come From
Profanity- The Children Learn New Words Part Deux
Sex & Children
Great Moments In Parenting- Parts of our Body That Grow
Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I
Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part II

And that is the short and incomplete list. It really doesn't touch upon any of the stories involving the dark haired beauty, which is good. I need some time to prepare myself for the coming onslaught that she is going to unleash upon me.

As I sit here typing I am grinding my teeth, excuse me I am trying not to grind my teeth. My jaw is clenched and the muscles in my back and neck are tying new knots upon the existing ones.

Ok, I know that is a bit heavy for the normal tone of these posts. Usually they are a light hearted recollection of conversations between my children and I. But the rules of the blog dictate that I share what is really happening so that is what I am doing.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The big guy is acutely aware of the world around him and constantly exploring and asking questions about what he sees. Some of his classmates have parents that are divorced and some that are in the process of getting divorced so he is intensely interested in what this means and how it happens.

Today he asked me to try and explain to him what it means to be married and why people don't stay married. He also asked me to try and explain why men are interested in women and in a whisper asked me to tell him about kissing.

Now the first rule of Jack's tips for fathers is to keep your explanations short and simple. No need to answer the question of what time is it with a three hour diatribe on how to make a clock. Kind of funny coming from a man who is brevity challenged, but it is an important safety tip because everything you say opens you up for new questions.

Marriage

I really was tempted to start the discussion about marriage by sharing a clip from The Princess Bride but I managed to resist the temptation. Instead I provided him with a short description of marriage as a partnership between friends who love each other and have a desire to be together every day.

For a moment that worked for him and then he started peppering me with questions:
  • How old do you have to be to get married?
  • How long do you have to be married?
  • How many times can you get married?
  • Would you marry someone else?
  • How do you know you won't marry someone else?
  • Do you have to kiss the girl at the wedding?
We spent a few minutes running through answers and then he told me that he never wants to get married because he doesn't like girls. I smiled and told him that it was ok. I am not worried about it. He smiled back and told me that he is never going to change his mind because girls are far too bossy.

I let out a loud guffaw and muttered "you have no idea." I was tempted to let loose with my impression of Al Bundy and run through a list of of cracks about women but it was too easy. And let's face it my audience, an inquisitive eight year-old wasn't going to appreciate it.

He still wanted to know why I laughed so told him that it was because I agreed with him, girls can be very bossy and then he said illogical and irrational too. Ok, he didn't say that, but it would have been something if he had. Just what that something is I don't know.

Then he got serious and asked me to tell him about kissing and why people do it. And because I have juvenile sense of humor I had to restrain myself again from making a crack about foreplay and how men would like to skip right over it. But I didn't, because even though I have a juvenile sense of humor I have a romantic streak.

So I gave him a quick line about kissing feels good and helps to show that two people love each other and that is when he hit me with how do people stop loving each other.

It was a serious question and I had to think about it.

I paused and for a moment I thought about the great loves and heartbreaks of my life. Inside my head I remembered moments of intense passion and unfettered love. I remembered the feeling of utter joy and I remember the intense pain and loneliness of the end. I remembered that moment when you first realize that you are in love and you can't wait to see that special person. And I remembered the soul crushing feeling of being told that it was over.

All of that feeling is far too much to pass along. He doesn't need to know about that. I hope that one day many years from now we'll have the sort of father/son relationship where we can discuss those things. And then I can tell him about those things. Then I can give him the background on the relationships that helped shape me, but not now.

For now I tried to explain being in love as the feeling you get when you are with your best friend. You always have fun together and you never get tired of doing things together. And then I told him that sometimes people change. Sometimes when you grow older you grow apart.

That seemed to satisfy him, at least for now. As he went back to playing with his Legos I stared at him and tried to imagine what sort of man he'll grow into. I can almost picture him grownup, at least I can visualize the body. I can't quite see his face or picture what his voice will sound like.

I hope that he finds the sort of love that makes him understand what it is really all about. The kind of love that makes your heart pound like a hammer on an anvil. I want him to understand that there is a fierce love that gives you incredible power and strength.

But that is a post for a different time and place.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I grok, Jack.
My oldest daughter just turned 6, and says that she'll never get married because boys are ewwy.

She didn't believe me (or her mother) when we told her that she'll change her mind eventually...

Jack said...

Funny how fast things can change.