Y’know, just when I thought I was finally getting this parenting thing down down, things had to go and get even more complicated.
Last night we were getting ready for bed when Jade gave me this really weird look… Almost like she wanted to say something. So, of course, I made the mistake of asking.
First, she reminded me that Mari just turned sixteen.
“I know.” I told her.
Then, that she’s been with Diego for a few months now.
I felt my stomach drop.
And finally, that by the time she was Mari’s age, she’d already, well…
Oh God, why did I have to ask?
It’s not like we’ve never talked to Mari about sex before. I mean, she knows the mechanics of it all. We made sure of that as soon as puberty hit.
But this was different.
I always knew this would come up someday. And I knew it was a conversation that wouldn’t be easy. Let’s just say Jade and I come from, uh… different places when it comes to that sort of thing.
Growing up, my family’s values were always pretty ‘traditional’, I guess. I mean, my mom did have my sister two years before she and dad were married… But still. My parents always taught me that sex was special. Intimate. Meaningful. Something you should save for someone you love. Really love.
And that’s what I’d always planned on telling my children.
But when I told Jade that last night, she just smiled.
“You’re such a romantic, meu amor.”
We talked for a long time then. And… it was pretty uncomfortable. For both of us. I guess this is the sort of conversation we should have had a long time ago, huh?
If I’m being honest, it almost bothered me to hear the way she talked about it. Like it’s just some fun little leisure activity. Jade and I have been together for over twenty years. What about the countless times we’ve made love? Did that mean nothing too?
She assured me it did, of course. “Sex can be special.” She promised. “But… only if the person you’re doing it with is, too.”
And… I guess the more I think about it, I can see where she’s coming from, much as I hate to admit it… But should you even be sleeping with someone who means nothing to you in the first place? Is that really what we want to teach our girls?
In the end, it was Jade who came up with our compromise.
“We’ll explain both sides.” She suggested. “And let her decide for herself.”
And of course, I agreed. What other choice do we have?
Mari’s a smart girl. She knows what’s best for her. And, no matter what she chooses, we just want her to be happy… And safe, too. That’s one thing we can agree on.
Of course, once we’d worked it all out, Jade took it upon herself to, uh, remind me just how good we have it. The love, the intimacy… and the fun too. Lots of it.
Best of both worlds, I guess. And that’s what I want for Mari too, someday.
Like maybe when she’s 30. Or 40.
I know, I know, I know. But… A dad can dream, right?