I’ll never forget when my mother decided that it was time for me to get a crash course on the birds and the bees aka “the sex talk.”
I was ten years old and had just gotten my period.
I think she hoped that she’d be let off the hook because we had a class in school where the girls and boys were separated and they gave us the skinny on our bodies and the changes that we could look forward to.
So, when my period came and I told my teacher, who sent me to the school nurse, I poked my chest out with pride, marched home, eager to show my mother the bloody mess pooling in my panties.
Imagine my utter shock at giving my mother the good news about me stepping into my womanhood, only to hear her breath catch in her chest and her eyes get as wide as saucers.
“We need to talk,” she cautiously informed me, not unlike a doctor waiting to give a family the bad news about a family member who didn’t make it.
Starting to think that I was in trouble, because she had that same look on her face.
You know the one.
Not the “you crazy kids always do kid stuff” trouble, but the “a line has been crossed and eternal damnation is near” look.
I sat on the edge of the living room couch, sweaty palms clasped together.
“You know that you can become a mother now, right?”
Whoa! That hadn’t even dawned on me!
All of the health lady’s talk about eggs and ovulation and implantation (or not) and blood flow made me think of some secret, special recipe or internal science experiment, not the fact that someone could be calling me Mom!
“Do you know where babies come from?”
“Yes,” I answered, nervously squirming on the edge of the couch.
Don’t ask me to explain, I thought. It was more like a chant in my head that I hoped would will her to change the subject to how my dad had been or what homework I had.
Hell, I hated chores, but I would have scrubbed every surface of the house from top to bottom if it meant not having this highly uncomfortable conversation.
“Where?” she asked, sitting back in her chair, arms folded.
She rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Girl! Be serious! I need to make sure that you know this. And you are lucky that I’m even having this talk with you! The most my mother ever said was, ‘Don’t be bringing home no babies!’ Do you know that I was almost an adult before I learned that you don’t get pregnant from kissing?”
I laughed heartily at that!
“So, tell me what you know about sex.”
I hesitantly launched into the explanation that I’d gotten in health class about eggs and tadpoles and such.
Waiving her hand, my cue to be quiet, I stopped talking.
“A man sticks his penis inside a woman’s vagina…”
Every hair on my body stood at full attention.
I honestly don’t remember what she said after that.
All I knew was that I never wanted to speak of anything about sex, babies, or anything remotely related.
Hell, I declined eggs for breakfast for a good while after that, just in case it stirred up a memory that would relaunch the conversation.
For many years after that, she asked me if I had any questions and encouraged me to come to her, not my friends, if I did.
I never had questions.
And when I did, I asked my friends or the Internet.
No, thank you, ma’am.
And that was how I learned that my mother is a freak.