Tag: Opinion

Um…No.

I mean, I guess we could if we wanted to.

But I don’t think we want to.

Funny…’cause we can (and do) talk about just about everything else.  But sex.  It just doesn’t seem to come up in our conversations.

I swear I don’t avoid it.  I don’t really talk about sex all that much anyway.  It’s nobody’s business.  Especially my kid’s.

And, I think that goes for talking to them about my sex life or theirs.

Don’t get me wrong.  They’re both adults and I totally hope they’re having sex (really).  Wonderful, loving, satisfying sex.  But I don’t tell them that.

And I figure they know I’m having sex.

(Why did I just picture them reading this and covering their ears shouting NANANANANA until the inevitable image disappears from their heads?)

But it’s true.  Wonderful, loving, satisfying sex.  But I don’t tell them that either.

I don’t know why.

Although I NEVER talked to my mom about sex.  She was clearly uncomfortable discussing anything about sex, or those “intimate things we may or may not be doing behind closed doors.”  Which for her…included everything from shaving her legs (which was a total mystery to me until waaaay into my teenage years)…to those other things she may or may not have been doing behind her closed doors.

I know my parents were totally in love with each other and were openly affectionate in front of me and my brother…but it never seemed…sexual (somehow).  And God knows they never talked to us about sex.

But I guess it was implied…in the way they looked longingly into each others eyes, kissed longer than expected, or  lingered for what seemed like hours in a hug.  But it was never discussed.

Me…I was pretty open about just about everything when my kids were young.  I was very comfortable shaving my legs in front of both kids (not wanting it to be a mystery to them)…or even walking naked around my room in front of them.  UNTIL I could see it started to make them feel uncomfortable.  And then I made sure I had on a robe in their presence (and started to shave my legs in private).

But that’s not SEX.  That’s just being human, and comfortable in our human bodies (not always an easy thing – but that’s for another post!).

Sex is different.  It’s private.  It is one of the most intimate things we can do with another human being.  And it’s not something I feel comfortable sharing (either way) as a mother (no matter how much of a friend I become) with my kids.

I just think we should all go about our own business…having as much wonderful, loving, satisfied sex as possible…and keep it to ourselves!

So there.

Nope.

Honestly, I really don’t see the need to.  I guess we could talk about it, but I certainly don’t want to.

And I don’t think that she does either.

I think that there’s a very natural aversion to talking to your parents/kids about sex.  Is this a bad thing?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think it has anything to do with shame or what’s appropriate or not.  There’s probably a super interesting sociological perspective on it, actually, but what it comes down to (for me) is this:

I just don’t need to know about my mom’s sex life (eww), and she doesn’t need to know about mine, thankyouverymuch.

It’s not because either of us is uncomfortable with sex or anything.  We’re both sexual (I guess) (also? I just shuddered a little bit, thus proving the whole “natural aversion” thing), we both have sex (I guess) (shudder), we just don’t need to discuss it with each other (thank god).

I don’t think that we’re really missing out on anything.  We have a wonderful relationship, and I’m not left wishing for anything more, especially when it comes to this subject.

(I mean, even the Gilmore Girls didn’t really talk about sex.)

This doesn’t mean that my parents never talked to me about sex.

There are some essential facts that need to be covered between kids and parents (regardless of how comfortable the subject might be): like safe sex, the emotional and physical consequences of sex, consensual sex, and, you know, where babies come from.  My parents never held back or skirted around these issues.

(I think I knew where babies actually came from before any of my peers.)

(Nope, didn’t make me as popular as you might think.)

But after that?  I don’t think any discussion is necessary… at least not for us.

I know that I could probably talk to my mom about sex if I wanted to.  Really, I believe that.  And maybe we’ll decide to talk about it more at some point in our lives.

But really?  For now?  And the foreseeable future?

We can just keep things the way they are.

Topic: Do you like your name?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

Do I like the name Cindy?

I guess its okay.  It’s not a bad name.  It has two syllables (I like names with two syllables).  And it’s kind of cute.  I mean when I think of the name “Cindy” I think of a cute girl, probably with blonde pigtails, sitting on an old wooden swing hanging from the limb of a single tree on top of a hill, on a bright cheery day.

(What a strange vision I seem to have.)

So I don’t really relate to the name.

I know I’m blonde, but I never did the pigtail thing…or the swing thing for that matter.  Now that I’m 54 years old…it’s really an absurd vision of the name.  OY.

I, like millions of other folks, had no control over the name I was given, and was always referred to with my shorter nickname (Cindy) of my longer, more formal, real first name…Cynthia.

I like Cynthia, but I have absolutely no personal relationship to the name.  It was the name that I had to learn to write in Kindergarten, but I knew that even though I had to learn how to spell it…nobody would ever use it to reference me.

I was Cindy.  From the day I was born.

My mother used to tell me that she named me Cynthia after Elizabeth Taylor in the movie with the same name.  I never saw the movie.  I’ve seen just about every other Elizabeth Taylor movie, but somehow, Cynthia has eluded me over the years.

So, when writing this post I decided to look it up (love that Google) and see what my namesake was up to in the movie.  Here’s the first blurb I found…

Cynthia (1947) was Elizabeth Taylor’s coming-of-age film, the one in which the intense and determined young girl who had become a star at the age of 12 in National Velvet (1944) became an intensely lovely and just as determined young woman.

Nice!  Mom named me after a girl of intense loveliness and determination.  I could live with that!

But then I read on…

Based on an unsuccessful Broadway play, Cynthia is the story of a sickly, sheltered teen who rebels against her parents’ overprotectiveness, finds a boyfriend, goes to the prom, and gets her first kiss.

Really?  First…they made a movie based on an unsuccessful Broadway play?  NOT A GOOD IDEA.

And then…she was sickly and sheltered and her only great accomplishments were that she rebeled against her parents, finds a boyfriend, goes to the prom and gets her first kiss.

Whoop  Whoop.

And…It was a flop.  According to a critic for the New York Times, “Cynthia is a synthetic morsel — right out of the Metro candy box.”

Thanks mom.

But…more than 40 years later, British critic Alexander Walker re-evaluated, calling Cynthia one of Taylor’s “unjustly forgotten triumphs of tact, sympathy, pathos and insistent self-assertion; and the identification with Cynthia by the bobby-soxers who saw it must have been total. It is one of the most likeable movies of adolescent independence.”

AHA! “One of the most likeable movies of adolescent independence.”  Now I understand why my mom loved the movie.

She also used to tell me that she named me after the Character/Movie because she thought Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most beautiful women EVER and she wanted her girl to have the name that embodied that beauty.

Woohoo!!!  What a mom.

But she never called me Cynthia, even when she was mad at me.  I was always Cindy.

(And just for the record, I haven’t been able to find any beautiful girls in the movies named Cindy)

The funny thing is…I don’t feel like people actually call me by my name…directly.  I know they refer to me as Cindy (to others), and once in a great while…someone begins a sentence to me by starting out with “Cindy….”  But it doesn’t happen all that often.

It actually feels strange when someone calls me Cindy (to my face).  I feel like I jerk my head up and wonder who they’re actually talking to.  It’s like an out of body experience somehow.

I know I’m Cindy.  I sign my name easily as Cindy.  I respond to it on those occasions when someone uses it.  But I still don’t really relate to it.

It’s just kind of there.  A label separate from me, but somehow, a part of me.

I wonder if others feel the same way about their name?

I wonder what Alexandra B  thinks about her name?

There’s nothing wrong with my name.

Alexandra is beautiful and elegant and unique.

But I’m not called Alexandra (unless I’m in trouble; when Mom breaks out the full name, it’s bad news).

Until I was 14, my name was Alex.  Growing up, I was the only girl named Alex that I knew.  I was made fun of constantly because I had a “boy’s name”.

(Especially from boys named Alex.  I think they felt threatened meeting a girl with the same name.)

(Knowing that didn’t make it any easier for me, though.)

On top of being a source of ridicule for me, the name “Alex” was also a pain in the ass.  In elementary school, it was hard to do those poems where you write your name down the side of the page and then use the letters to write words to describe yourself.

Like A is for Awesome.

And L is for Likable.

And E is for Excellent.

And X is for… well, shit.

(My teacher once told me to just pick a word with “X” as the second letter, like “eXcited” or “eXtra special” or “eXtremely uncomfortable in social situations”.  It totally ruined the poem’s flow.)

So when I got to high school, I changed it.  I wanted high school to be different, and I didn’t think I could do it with Alex as my name.

So I asked everyone to call me Ally.

(Truthfully, I don’t really see myself as an “Ally” either, but I liked it better.)

Now that I’m “grown up”, I actually like Alex, especially for a girl.  But I still don’t think that I can pull it off.  I just don’t look like an Alex or Ally.

(I’ve actually had one girl say that I make a terrible Ally and should really be an Autumn or something.  I didn’t really know what to say to that.)

Now my middle name?  My middle name kicks ass.

My middle name is all mine.

It’s “B“.

It doesn’t stand for anything, so it’s “B” with no period after it.  (And even though I told both my high school and college that a period after the B wasn’t correct, they insisted on putting it on my diplomas.)

It symbolically represents my maternal great-grandmother’s names (they were both named Bessie) (yes, both), but “Bessie” doesn’t really go with “Alexandra” (seriously, “Alexandra Bessie”?), so my parents just made it B.

Plus, with a super long first name like “Alexandra”, and an eight letter last name, a single letter middle name is pretty necessary.

(Do you have any idea how long it takes me to fill in the bubbles on those standardized testing sheets?)

I love it.  I’m the only person I’ve met with a middle name that’s one letter (so if you have the same thing, please don’t tell me and burst my bubble).

I may not identify very much with my first name, but my middle name has become a huge part of my identity.

And with B as my middle name, I’m ABC (just like my daddy), and that?  Makes up for any problems I’ve ever had with my first name.

Topic: Should parents give their older children advice?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I believe the best rule of thumb for this is…“Give advice only when asked!”

Which holds true for anyone, but ESPECIALLY your older kids.

And by older, I mean any kid that’s on their own in terms of living out of the house, or pretty much setting their own priorities for life.  I don’t mean waiting until the kids are totally financially independent.  Their need for parental advice (especially in their minds) has nothing to do with financial independence.  It has to do with them learning how to depend on themselves to make decisions.

And I’ve always tried to encourage my kids to be independent.  I want them to have all kinds of independence, (financial, emotional, mental) but of course, I also want them to know that I’m there for them…if they need me, or if they want my opinion.

I figure, they’ll ask me if they want to know what I think.

Which doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about what they’re doing, or how they plan to do it…it just means that I try to keep my mouth shut when it comes to telling them what to do, or how to do it.

For me, it’s about participating in a conversation with my kids, without owning it.

It’s about listening and asking questions, without trying to fix it. (OH so much harder than it sounds.)

It’s about waiting for those wonderful few words…”so what do you think mom?” before feeling compelled to tell them what I think…before they ask.

It’s a fine line for many of us parents.

We want to parent (as in the verb – to parent, which for many implies actively telling your kids what to do!).

AND…we want to help.  Because we think we always know what’s best for them.

But we don’t.

(OY.)

And, I’m sure I’ve failed miserably…many a time.

I can only imagine how often Ally and AJ have regretted bringing up a topic because I blurted out some unsolicited piece of advice or direction, and they’ve felt like running out of the house screaming “Mom…Stop talking…I DIDN’T ASK FOR YOUR OPINION!”

But they’re really nice to me, so if they’ve ever felt that way, they’ve never actually done it.

(Whew!)

For the last couple of years I think I’ve gotten a lot better at waiting.  And I think it’s because I’ve learned that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when one of my kids does ask for my advice.

IT FEELS INCREDIBLE!

It’s total validation.

It’s like they’re saying “I trust your opinion” mom, or “I’d really like to know what you think” mom.

And when it happens, it warms every ounce of my being.

So even though it doesn’t happen all that often (which I take to mean that they’re working through stuff on their own – and becoming more and more independent!)…

It’s really cool when they want to know what I think.

Being an “older child” here, I guess I would say only if it’s been asked for.  There are times when I want my parent’s advice, times when I don’t want it, and times when they give it and I just ignore it.

My parents are respectful and don’t really give unsolicited advice.  They’re always there for me when I need them, but they stay out of my business otherwise.

And I think it works out pretty well.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, but I can imagine that it’s not easy to keep your mouth shut all of the time.  Hell, I’ve experienced this when I see friends make stupid decisions.  Sometimes you just want (or need) to tell someone how to live, because they’re doing it wrong.  So I have respect for my mom and dad, because I’m sure there have been times that they wished they could have said something, but didn’t.

(Or maybe not.  I’m pretty perfect…)

And I understand that fine line that parents have to balance on.  You don’t want to overstep any boundaries, and want your kid to make their own decisions and mistakes, but you also don’t want them to totally screw up and end up causing some real damage.  And that line gets blurrier and blurrier as kids get older.

Trust me, I don’t envy that responsibility and don’t look forward to it in the (distant) future.

(In fact, I fully intend to just send my kid to Grandma’s house when I get in a sticky situation.)

(I think it’s an excellent plan.)

Personally, I’m pretty self-sufficient, and I have been for awhile.  It helps that I have a partner in crime, and my life is usually pretty monotonous.

(Most days, my biggest decision is whether or not to take a shower.)

I go to my parents for the BIG DECISIONS.  The ones like whether or not I should take a certain job, whether or not I should go to graduate school, or whether or not buying two puppies at the same time is a stupid decision.

(They both gave me the same advice about grad school, but held wildly different opinions about the other two.)

I trust their instincts, respect their opinions, and also know that they won’t disown me if I ignore them and do what I want in the end.

(Dad still loves me even though I totally got two puppies in one day.)

And I’m extremely thankful for that.

PS: The giant exception here would be if I were in serious danger.  If I start doing heroin and then selling my body to support my habit?  Mom and Dad – that’s a time for some unsolicited advice.