• Jennifer Hastings

A Sideways Glance

Updated: Oct 9, 2019


The fog is so heavy I can only see one tiny portion of the ocean in front of me. Everything else is all hazy and looks like the perfect setting for a good mystery. Being at the beach in winter is like reading a new genre. It matches my mood perfectly though. The fog and angst I’m feeling have settled over me much like the current weather. I’m planning on taking my nine-year-old, well, only nine-year-old for a few more short weeks, for a walk on the beach. Not just any walk, I plan to open a small crack in the bubble of knowledge that keeps her innocent. Hopefully at the same time, bust through any barrier that would hinder communication between us for the rest of her life. Not an easy task.

The talk. Not just a talk, but The Talk! The talk that strikes terror in the hearts of parents everywhere! Some parents try to shy away from this talk and hand their kids a book. Any questions? Some parents enroll their kids in a church class. Some parents just wait and let the more educated kids share their version of life’s mysteries with their children. There is no perfect way to enter into these uncharted waters, but regardless of what moves we make, our kids will explore the water. I want my kids to have my voice swirling around in their heads as the waves crash around them.

I still remember my “talk” with my mother. We were watching the news and something came on about AIDS and I asked her what I thought was a simple question. She looked at me sideways and then said, “Let’s go back into my bedroom.”

I feel like I’ve been looking at Claire sideways lately. Looking back, I get the sideways look, the pause, like a sigh that another piece of time has been stolen. I wonder if my mother contemplated the decision or did she have some sixth sense that it was time. I feel like culture has stolen some of this precious time from me! If I want to be the one to talk to her first, then I have to beat society to the punch.

Earlier this year, we were all listening to music and Kenny Chesney's song, Everything Gets Hotter When the Sun Goes Down came on. Claire was singing it at the top of her lungs and Stewart turns to Claire and asks, “Do you know what that means?” Her face turned as red as a beat and she waved her hands back and forth in front of her as if to say... there is no way I’m going to talk about that with you.

Caroline pipes up with…”Yeah, it means, smoochy, smoochy!” while she makes silly kissing faces. (maybe, she is the one I need to take on a walk)

For me, the fact that my mother was willing to talk openly and honestly to me made me feel valued and loved. It opened up a line of communication that just continued to get better and better in our relationship. I want this kind of relationship with Claire so I’m going to have to set the tone for honesty and trust now!

The tricky part of this walk is I really only want it to be an overview of growing into a woman, not the nitty-gritty of how babies

are born. I’m going to trust in my ability to have wisdom in how much to share based on what she is ready for and answer her questions in a way that is appropriate for her little ears. I’m praying God will help me build a wonderful mother-daughter relationship with my girls and at the same time thanking him for my example he gave me growing up.

The way I see it, as parents, our influence is the most important gift we can give our kids. So open up and share your thoughts while their ears and hearts are still mold-able. They are going to learn the facts of life from somewhere, let it come from you. Share your thoughts on all the important topics! Be their source of truth. While I would love to call my mother and get a little pre-game pep talk for this conversation, her influence is alive and well in my heart. I want my girls to have that kind of relationship with me when I’m gone. All I have to do is be still and I can hear her words and encouragement to me. In fact, she would tell me to quit typing and take that girl on a walk. Wish me good luck! Here I go!


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