The Way They Were


First, I have a question for you: Do birthdays make you all nostalgic? Do you feel like looking back and remembering, whenever someone turns a year older? Or do you wake up in the morning all eager for anything the new day/year may bring? Maybe birthdays are just like any other day to you?

For me, birthdays tend to be busy (baking, cooking, organizing parties). The days after the fact, however, are often filled with quiet reflection, and this year is no exception.

My birthday last week was a sunny, summery day spent swimming in the lake, barbecuing things and hanging out with friends on the shady lawn after. I got wonderful, thoughtful presents, I felt loved and cherished, and I had a really good time. Since it was a Sunday, we started around noon and people went home early because they needed to work the next day. Lawn and kitchen were cleaned up by 10 p.m., and the day ended in the hammock with my teenager, and a little substance abuse. That was memorable in and of itself obviously, but the conversation was even more so. You know the rambling way people talk when under the influence, which can feel so profound but actually is mainly losing your filters. So we had a fascinating chat about sex, and love, and the way this new generation’s approach to both is somewhat different from my own generation’s.

As much as I commend the way they’re open to experimenting, I’m also a little bit weirded out by the cavalier attitude towards what I consider to be intimacy (‚for science‘, as he put it). Well, I guess as long as you talk in advance and make sure everyone’s on the same page. I know I always preached to be open about things, and not have any hang-ups, so I guess this is what the outcome is :-).

It was all very interesting, and it’s certainly remarkable how these experiments went on without my husband and me even realizing. I guess we must be very trusting individuals. Which is actually what I’m applying as a strategy for bringing up my teenager: Trust in him (thank you so much, Jesper Juul!), and get him to talk (figured that out all by myself). Thank God we don’t really need weed for that!

I made no grand speeches, I hope, but I did point out the importance of making sure nobody gets hurt (you may feel all casual about messing around with someone, but he or she may have feelings for you, so you better be sure it’s the same empirical interest (read horniness and curiosity) driving both partners before you engage in anything). I also said sex with a person you’re actually in love with is a whole different ballgame, and there’s still a lot to discover (or scientifically research) when that is the case. He’ll get what I was talking about when that happens, right? For now, it’s safe to say we’re not in Kansas anymore. Evidently, my son is a sexual being, bizarre as it may be to me as a parent. Who knew?IMG_E6368Thoughtfully leaving this place today without even mentioning food or crafts, sorry not sorry :-).

Those of you who have older children, talk to me about this stuff, for right now, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants. I’m sure I’d benefit from some, well, experience.

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