Karisma is this week’s Fun Monday host and her request was simple enough:
"I want you to take a trip down
memory lane, and keep right on going, right back to your childhood. And
I want to hear "THAT STORY". You remember the one? Yes, you do! The one
your parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let you
forget, live down or get over!"
For the life of me, I can’t think of a thing that fits neatly into Karisma’s theme. Either my childhood was largely forgettable–I DO have a miserable memory (what did I wear yesterday?)–or my siblings and childhood friends are forgiving in their recall.
In any event, since I did sign up, I’m writing about one of my most distinct childhood memories. It’s a conversation with my mother who lost her battle to cancer when I was just nine. Most of my memories of her are blurred and fading, much like a kaleidoscopic chalk-drawn sidewalk masterpiece, cruelly erased by an impassive and indifferent summer rain. I suppose I should note while this memory is concrete, it may not be accurate…yet it still brings a smile to my face to remember, especially since I’ve had children (this age) of my own :).
In my mind’s eye I can see us sitting, no squirming, on our multi-colored 60s-style sofa–Mama, my sister and me. I knew this was going to be one of those Serious Talks by the way Mama told us she needed to talk to us about "something". This wasn’t one of those "life and death" talks–we were already well aware that Mama was sick, we even knew she was dying–but to a third grader that has much more significance after the fact.
No, this was something different, but it still seemed to matter…a lot. There were just some things Mama wanted to be the one to tell us, daggum it, and this was one of them (this example eventually impacted how I mother my own children 🙂 ). She knew she had limited time, so perhaps some things were rushed that might otherwise have been put off.
It’s important to note this was the early 70s. Though the Sexual Revolution may have been raging outside our doors, it hadn’t found its way into every home in America through magazine covers delivered to our door or a thousand channels of cable television ("All in the Family" may have been edgy, but it was hardly sexy (!) and "The Doris Day Show" and "My Three Sons" were still on the air); Victoria hadn’t yet spilled her "secrets" at the mall, either. In other words, the barrage of sexual images prevalent today hadn’t yet sledgehammered our innocent, young minds.
I cannot remember the "words" Mama used, whether or not she was anatomically correct; what "parts" were called was irrelevant to me when I, horrified, discovered the a) husbands and wives actually saw each other without clothes on, b) that "that" goes "there" to make babies (I had a baby brother, I knew what "that" was), c) everyone ever been born was conceived that same way (pre modern-day infertility miracles). I recall thinking…saying…if I ever did that (one or two times, just so I could have a baby), I most certainly would not cut on the lights!
Any embarrassment I might have had was trumped by incredulity and curiosity, and in keeping with who I am today, I asked questions. What I know now that I didn’t know then, is my inquisitive nature must’ve been embarrassing for my mother! In a moment of exasperation, I can still see…and hear… her saying, "Well, I’m not going to sit here and draw PICTURES for you!!"
Hehe…imagine the post I’d have for you today if she did….;)
FIRST! Woo hoo!
What a wonderful story! I just loved how you told it. Beautiful!
“I most certainly would not have cut on the lights”. In that single sentence, you have identified yourself as a southerner and a lady. Great story!
I’m almost lost for words. And that is hard to imagine. But what a beautiful memory of how strong your mon was to make sure she had a impact on yalls lives and knowing she wouldn’t be there. Thanks~
Too funny! I remember badgering my mother, b/c she wasn’t explicit enough – about how many clothes were left on and taken off. She was mortified, too! Hey – inquiring minds, we are!
I lost my mom to cancer when I was five and, like you, have only a couple of memories of her. I certainly didn’t get the facts of life from her though!
Pictures?? LMAO!! I remember asking my uncle if he and his wife did it when I was about 5??? too funny!
I couldn’t possibly imagine you could evah forget this memory!! Your mother wasn’t just wonderful, she had a sense of humor (draw pics) too funny I LMBO. Like mother,like daughter!
Beautiful story, Robin.
‘Most of my memories of her are blurred and fading, much like a kaleidoscopic chalk-drawn sidewalk masterpiece, cruelly erased by an impassive and indifferent summer rain.’ Very beautiful writing, Robin.
I LOVED the part about the picture, LOL!
my moms generation never gave the talk.
What a wonderful memory. And, yes, I’m sure you asking questions made it harder for her. What a scary thought sex was to the younger you!
There are some tings that are “mother’s domain”, and that talk about the facts of life are one of them. I find that her determination to be the one to tell you is commendable. Thanks for the story.
I think it is so special that she told you herself. Your story is very cute and sad at the same time.
I second what Sandy said.
But I’ll mark myself as not being a Southern gentlewoman by asking for illustrations.
What a funny but poignant story. I’m sure it was really difficult for your mom, but something tells me that you were a real ice breaker…
It’s worse for girls, they have to hear all the gory details because the whole conception thing had a much bigger impact on them. Boys are just told that it’s important to say thank you.
Thanks, Kaytabug :).
Well, now, Sandy, I consider that a compliment. Is that how you intended it??
Awwww, Katie, what sweet thoughts…thanks for sharing :).
Tiggerlane, that, my dear, doesn’t surprise me in the least. Please tell me you were older than nine!
Sauntering Soul, oh, my…just think if you HAD! No telling how you would’ve processed that…(thanks for your kind words, too).
Claudia, I have a similar memory, asking my aunt how LONG they took to do it… Can you imagine being asked THAT by a KID???
Christine, a good sense of humor is CRUCIAL to me. How could you get through life without one???
Wow, Lisa, did I write that? lol, I liked it, too, but barely recognized myself having written it….(p.s. me likey when friends let me know lines they liked, so thanks).
Pamela, then how did you know what when where? 😉
AFF, thank goodness that’s a thing of the past ;).
Robocop, yeah, well, my oldest son CRINGES when I bring up the topic. That doesn’t shut me down, though…I want him to KNOW I know a whole lot more about it than any of his friends!
Beckie, yeah…I think so, too :/ :).
Jenny, didn’t you already get a coloring book that fits that bill?
Rotten Correspondent…some things nevah change, either ;).
Willowtree…weeeell…that and a few other things! :O
Robin, I read this laughing and crying all at the same time. I’m a fuddy duddy like that. OR is it an emotional wreck. Either way, you won’t be able to forget this tidbit, because it is in cyberworld now.
My younger brother (11yrs) told my son (7yrs) this summer what sex meant. He said it means mom and dad get naked and hug and kiss. Phew! Thank Goodness his mother is reserved and that is all he knows so far. (for my son’s sake)
oh, that’s a terrific story. just terrific. tinged with sadness over the loss of your mom. i’m so sorry. but she did right by you, didn’t she.
robin, as others have said, this was lovely and sad all at once.
me, i learned the facts of life from my children. they know MUCH more than me.
Gee, my mum just sent me to the movie they held at school. WHich I think I giggled through before telling my mum I knew all that already.
Oh Robin, what a memory. Reading these Fun Monday posts is reminding me of so many incidents of my youth. My mother gave me an informational book and asked if I had questions. I didn’t; my neighborhood friends had clued me in on the basics. Good for you…you asked questions.
What a wonderful story and memory for you.
nicely done! it would be a great story even without knowing that she died not too long afterward – but that makes it so bittersweet.
Just think…how would you have found out if she didn’t tell you then and there? You might have found out the hard way 😆
At least you had the “talk”. I’ve never had the talk and before I knew it I had 4 kids!! I wish someone would have told me before that happened!!
That was so sweet and so sad. I can not imagine my mother and I having the talk at 9. In fact it was my father who gave it.
Oh Robin I was in such a hurry this morning because I was so excited and shocked that I was first that I didn’t go into more detail…I was so moved by the “chalk-drawn sidewalk..” the entire part that Lisa quoted was just so moving and lovely. The entire story was as well but that was my favorite part.
I also wanted to share that I had the first talk with my son when he was 8…I was so mad that my hubby was away and wouldn’t be able to be the one to have the talk with him. What made it all ok for me was at the end my son asked ” Mommy, do you and Daddy have s*x?” I said “yes” he screamed EWWWWWWW and ran to his room! Priceless!
You did!! hahaha!! That’s classic!!!
At least nothing will take that memory of your Mom away from you Robin.
Great story. 🙂
The “talk” is hard to bring and talk about to your kids at times. I want my kids to know the truth and not to believe everything their friends say.
Robinella, funny with a “yikes!” attached. Reminds me of when my sister overheard her daughters having a convo a few years back. One asked the other what “sex” was; the oldest responded, casually, “Oh, that’s your gender…you know, whether you’re a man or a woman.” Whew! Big sigh of relief, huh?
Laurie, in much too brief a life, yes :).
Janet, giggles on the second part of your comment!
TOB, I’m afraid your experience is more common than mine… Which, imho, is a disservice to kids….
Molly, I can STILL remember some of the errant and confusing things my peers and I discussed…. I soooo hope my kids will ask questions when they arise; I often tell them I know a whole lot more than their friends….
Alison…bittersweet is an apt characterization….
Sirdar, YIKES! I hope I wouldn’t have! You crack me up with your whole “ignorant” act…ha!
Emma, I don’t think my father and I EVER talked about it…but I hadn’t thought about that until you mentioned it….Hmmmm.
Kaytabug, you’re so sweet to come back and elaborate (thanks). And you will ALWAYS remember that exchange with your son…so will he ;).
Claudia, yep, it is ;).
Debs, I always tell my kids it’s an ON-GOING CONVERSATION…and I try to give them opportunity privately to ask those questions. Rare, but sometimes they do.
Beautiful story. I think you should write more about your mom.