From the Vault: Naked Wrestling
In this post, I would like to reflect on a moment from several years ago; from my “memory vault.” In “The Vault” are the stories that we know in my household, the ones that shape us as a family. I started writing out these moments a while back because they seemed so incredibly hilarious, and not necessarily unique to other families. In fact, I’m sure every family has their own “Vault.” A group of stories that become legend in the family and usually start with, “Do you remember the time when…”. Welcome to the MammaYoda Vault.
Not too long ago, I was making one of our family favorite dinners: eggplant fritters. The fritters are an elaborate meal that requires a lot of prep work. Usually, the girls will join in and help me, but on this specific evening, they were busy doing homework. As I was preparing the eggplant to be breaded, my hands covered in breadcrumbs and flour, my middle daughter tells me that a little boy in her class told her that his friend wanted to “sex her.” Hands fully breaded, heart beating out of my chest, I attempted my most matter a fact voice and asked her what she thought that meant. She explains that she asked the boy what it meant, and he said, “naked wrestling.” Within seconds, my youngest daughter is running through the house carrying on about naked wrestling.
There are moments in life where people say everything moves in slow motion. This was one of my “slow motion moments.” I can’t remember what song was playing on the radio, but it seemed so loud; my youngest sounded like she was shrieking through laughter on a continuous loop saying “naked wrestling” and it was as though complete chaos had erupted in my home. If food had flown through the air at that exact moment, I would not have been surprised. My mind was shattered, going in a million directions including but not limited to:
Why am I having this talk with my 2nd grader?
Who is this boy who introduced this conversation into my home?
I hate this boy who introduced this into our family!
I’m not ready to have the sex talk with my daughters!
How is my husband going to handle this?
Where even is my husband?!
Does he want to be a part of this?
Should he be a part of this?
The sex talk I got from my mom was horrible and about a year to late!
Is this the moment I completely traumatize them and they are led astray forever!?!?
Are my words going to condemn them to years of therapy?
Do I have my game face on?
Can they read my thoughts right now?!
To complicate it further, my girlfriends and I had made a pact that we would let each other know when we had “The Talk” with our daughters so that everyone would be able to prepare their children and/or keep the kids supervised and separated for a while to ensure each family had the opportunity to explain things on their own terms. Now my family was going to be the reason this plan had to go into effect!! Oh, the shame!!
As all these thoughts and SO many others are going through my head, my middle daughter started giggling and in a very self-conscious whisper said, “What?”
I can only assume that my face had the most twisted and blindsided look. But in that moment, when I could hear the embarrassment in her voice, it snapped me out of the cyclone enveloping me and I simply said, “You know what darling, I am going to need a moment right now because I was not prepared for this conversation. Please get your father for me.” I mean honestly, who is expecting to have the sex talk with a 5, 7 and 8-year-old, let alone while making a fun family meal?
For the first time in my life with my daughters, this seemed like a make or break moment. It was 100% me, all of me, all the baggage of my youth, the missteps I had taken through my life culminating in what seemed like a coin-flip moment. To me, it meant the narrative could go either way: I could let this topic drown us all, not allowing for open dialogue in the future, or I could confront it the best way I knew how. I had 3 sets of eyes watching me, and all I could do was close my own and take several deep breaths to face this head on. I let every shameful thought go and focused on just the moment and the little people in front of me.
In the end, we all survived “the talk,” and a new family rule was established that whatever was said in our home stayed in our home (love that Las Vegas commercial series). When things get uncomfortable, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is take a nice long pause. I took a serious pause in a serious conversation so that I could then be totally present, and I was ok with my girls seeing the real me: the mamma who does not always have the perfect answer, one who needs a chance to breathe, collect her thoughts and answer the best way possible with the most love she has.