Marsha was talking to Jan about her first kiss. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. That’s all my 7-year-old daughter wants to talk about ever since I introduced her to the hilarious world of The Brady Bunch reruns. But for one brief moment, she took a break from talking about Marsha’s awesome outfits to ask me a question that took me completely off guard.
“Mommy, when was your first kiss?”
I always swore I would be honest with my children. Well, I swore that before I actually had children. Once I had them, I soon learned that there was a time and place for full honesty. Telling my 4-year-old that I secretly hid the eggs around the house instead of the Easter Bunny is not the time for honesty.
But what about kissing?
Did I really want to tell her that I was only 12 when a boy first put his tongue in my mouth?
I can remember that first kiss and immediately feel the anxiety all over again. It was a party at Heather Somebody’s house (because who remembers last names of kids you went to middle school with?) and it was one of the first co-ed parties of seventh grade. A boy named David swiped a Sprite bottle, and we all followed him to a shed in the backyard. I didn’t want to go, but I was the only one at the party left standing in the living room after they all starting walking outside.
A serious game of spin the bottle occurred. Poor Nathaniel, he had no idea what he was in for when it landed on me. He took my hand, and we went behind the bikes and lawnmower (I can’t make this stuff up) and then we just looked at each other for what seemed like an hour. He then uttered the most romantic words a teenager could ever hear: “Uhm… they are going to, like, totally know if we don’t kiss?”
Oh. I didn’t realize that. I also didn’t realize that tongue was involved in kissing, so when he leaned in and started to put his tongue in my mouth, I screeched and yelled, “What did you just put in my mouth?” and ran out of the shed.
I was the girl who ran into the house, called her mom and told her to pick me up immediately.
But now, 25 years later, my 7-year-old daughter was asking me about that day. And I had a choice. Did I tell the truth, or did I lie in hopes that she wouldn’t want to follow in my footsteps?
I chose the latter. I told her about my second kiss. The one when I was in high school and kissed someone that meant something to me. The one that I chose all on my own.
And you know what? I don’t regret it.
I went to that shed in seventh grade because of peer pressure, because everyone was pushing me to do it. I let them convince me to do something I knew in my gut I wasn’t ready to do.
I have no doubt that will happen to my daughter at some point in her life. Yes, I could have told her the first kiss story and found a way to use it as an example of what not to do. But I felt like this was an opportunity to teach her something bigger than that. To teach her how to wait for what really matters in life. To not let anyone push you into something because you are afraid you won’t be cool or won’t fit in.
If I could instill just a bit more confidence in her than I had in myself back then, heck, I’m going to take that opportunity. I want her to stand up for herself in a way I didn’t.
And maybe I did tell a little white lie, but considering she still believes a little fairy comes and steals her teeth at night, aren’t we all lying to keep some sort of naïve innocence alive?
As for her response to it all, I believe she summed it up perfectly. “I think I’ll just become a nun.”
Sounds like a great plan to me, girl.