The title is ironic. I think my kids are still little but in all reality, Eli is 3 days into being 10 years old and Andi is not far behind. They are mid to upper elementary school age. Even Oakley, at three, is bigger than little. I mean, June, our live in cousin, is “little” at age 1, and so cute and smart too!!! Waking up with June in our house is a gift. but I digress. My kids are big but in the scope of aging humanity, with medical miracles and God’s grace, they should live many more decades.
So assuming they are all actually still little, I’m reeling from and relishing the conversations we’ve had this summer.
Conversation #1: The Sex Talk
It was early June when Andi found a condom in our bedroom- she plays in small places…I guess her imaginary world was under our bed that day. When she asked me what it was, I said, “It has to do with sex. Do you want to know more about it or just know it’s for sex?” She said she definitely wanted to know more so I told her she had to find Eli and I would find Dad. Oaks came too and we had “the talk”, a bit spontaneous and completely open with Eli and Andi. We were all five in Andi’s room; Oaks played in his own world on the floor.
We talked about the purpose (for connection and creation) and the mechanics (they had anatomical questions). We talked about the ways it can go wrong and how absolutely great but private and intimate it is. They had questions about frequency and were a little surprised to know we have decided for sure on no more babies. Yes, the small package that started the whole conversation, is stopping the sibling expansion.
I said that day, and in the next month to my high school campaigner girls (not planned), that I love to talk about sex. When I talk about sex I love to say:
- Sex is good, precious and powerful. So good, precious and powerful, it’s worth protecting and saving.
- Sex is healthy and good to talk about with the right people. Don’t hide your questions or feel like you can’t ask them.
- Sex is part of who we are and works with what God wants us to do as people who love, know and follow God.
- Sex is best with one person who really loves you, and always will.
Conversation #2: What is the meaning of life?
One night with Drew at bedtime and the next day with me at lunch, early July, Eli posed the question, “What is the point of life?” Like I said, little kid, big questions!
I asked it right back and they had ready answers.
Eli said, “I think its to have fun, make friends and do work.”
Andi said, “To love and be loved. To have water, family, food, home, and clothing…so you can really live.”
I feel like I should have an answer for them too. Do I say, ”It’s to live as a child of God and ambassador for Christ, making God’s kingdom real on earth with reconciliation and love?”.
Or, simply, “It’s to live loved so you can go love“.
Or, “Life is about relationships. To know and be known, love and be loved. Life is about living in relationship with God for full life on earth.”
It’s fun to think about and I hope they keep asking.
Conversation #3 Birthday Attention
Eli turned 10 on July 17th and we marked the moment. I hosted a Decade of Parenting Party to toast with my friends about our 10 years of lessons and laughter in parenting. We shared what we learned, how we messed, up and what our kids have done to change our worlds. Then we listened to my friends, who have young 20 year old kids, share about how to make it through the next decade. What was shared that night is worth it’s own post!
Then we had an Epic Eli bday party on Saturday the 16th. With a few friends and some of Eli’s adult friends, had lunch, played Nerf Capture the flag, and went to Oceans and Worlds of Fun.
I had 10 people write craft a page and made a book celebrating Eli’s life so far and cheering him on for the days and years ahead.
On Sunday, Eli went to church in the morning and the end of the season swim banquet at the end of the day with a family party in the middle. He was grateful and said so all throughout the celebrations. Here’s the conversation part.
Me: “Eli, did they know it was your birthday at church? Did anyone say anything?”
E: “Nah. No one knew. No one said anything.”
Me: “Did that bother you? Did you want them to?”
E: “No. It’s fine.”
Me: “Really? I love people knowing its my birthday!”
E: “Yea. I just don’t really like the attention of people who don’t know me very well being paid my way. “
Indeed- Eli meant not to disparage the relationships he has at church. He was simply stating reality. His birthday is about relationships, the knowing and being known, the celebrating and having fun, should be with people who are invested in his life. The obligatory “Happy Birthday” from stranger or acquaintance wasn’t necessary to expand or deepen his weekend. He was humble and honest and I think, very mature. That 10-year-oldness fits him.
So, with fear and awe, gratitude and joy, I can only hope these big conversations keep happening with my little people.