For those of you who have known me for, say, longer than 20 minutes, I apologize in advance that you have surely already heard this story. However, this being July 4th, it only seems appropriate that this story should go down in blog history.
It was the summer I was barely pregnant with Kevin. Kacey was a very precocious, nearly 6-year-old. I can still envision her marching down the hall of our Jackson, Tennessee apartment, donning her blue daisy outfit, hands on her hips as she announces, "Okay mommy, I've been thinking about this. If I'm gonna be a big sister, there's some things I need to know. I know it takes a mommy and I know it takes a daddy, but what I don't get is how they get together!"
WHAT??? She's not even 6! I thought I had like 7 or 15 years before I had to explain this to her! However, I have always been a firm believer that if they are old enough to ask the question, they are old enough to deserve an honest answer. But how? How do I explain this simply enough for her to understand without freaking her out?
Lennart Nilsson's book, "A Child is Born". Perfect. It even has tasteful photographs.
So I pull it out of the closet from amid all my hippie birthing books and soft-porn breastfeeding manuals, and proceed to show her the male and female anatomy diagrams. After that, we move on to the images of the female egg and male sperm. We talk about how the mommy just has one egg, but the daddy has millions and millions of tiny sperm and they swim around really fast.
I'm pretty sure there were swirling hand gestures involved.
After that we move on to the ultrasound images of the baby growing, ending in a very tasteful labor and delivery photo layout. She seemed satisfied with the explanation, and I breathed a sigh of relief that "the talk" was successfully accomplished.
Fast forward two weeks. It is the weekend of July 4th, and we go to visit the grandparents. As part of the holiday weekend festivities, we go to the lake, along with 10,000 other people, to view the Fireworks Extravaganza. So, we're sitting there on the bank of the lake amid the throng of spectators, when one particularly interesting firework explodes. First it bursts white, then there are tiny little swirly sub-bursts which follow. It is gorgeous. The crowd "ooohhhs" and "aaaahhhs", then my petite, but very loud little daughter screams . . .
"Look, Mommy - SPERM!!!"
A hush falls. I think my dad swallowed his tongue. My mother gasps and looks at me as though to say, "WHAT SMUT HAVE YOU BEEN CORRUPTING MY GRANDDAUGHTER"S MIND WITH?"
I, well, I am mortified.
After that we have "talk number 2" about how some things are not appropriate conversation.
Happy Independence Day.