Some Questions Best Remain Unanswered

"So Mom, how old were you when you lost your virginity?"

And there it was. The one question my children have asked that I have never answered, asked so innocently and so earnestly in the quiet moments of a typical evening I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut.

I thought I'd have more time to figure out how to tap dance around this question, get my proverbial ducks in a row and deal with my children's increasing curiosity about sex. The last time Fric posed this question she was 13 and the idea of her having sex was so foreign and far off that she may as well have been speaking Swahili.

But she's walking the delicate line in between adulthood and childhood and she's closer to becoming a woman than I care to admit. The teeter totter of puberty is quickly shifting away from the playgrounds of her innocence and tilting towards the future she's racing towards.

As much as I'd love to coddle her and bundle her up in the last tattered remains of her childhood I can't stop the sands of time. More often than naught I see glimpses of the lady she's about to become and I have to search harder to find that knobby kneed, stringy haired little girl who she used to be.

A year is an eternity in the life span of a child and with Fric it's been no exception. Who she is now is very different than who she was last year when she made the same curious inquiry. She's watching her friends grow up and make choices, some of them sexual and she's just starting to put the pieces of who she wants to be together in her jigsaw puzzle of life.

I never answered her. I once again deflected the question and used it instead as a stepping stone to discover the latest dramas happening within our own community of fourteen and fifteen year olds. It turns out life as a teenager hasn't really changed much since I once was that age. My memories are a little dusty but the dynamics of teenaged life isn't much different than when I was sporting aqua green eyeliner and a training bra.

Fric may be dipping her toe into the ocean of adulthood but she is still a long way off from stripping it all off and skinny dipping in the waves. For which I can only thank God and wipe the beads of sweaty relief off my forehead. I'm not ready to be a grandmother just yet.

I never had a birds and the bees talk with my parents. Of any sort. Which is why when I dropped into their kitchen as my father was pouring himself a cup of coffee and casually mentioned I was pregnant at the ripe old age of 20 my father may have had a small coronary as his coffee cup shattered on the kitchen floor.

Hello Dad! Guess what! I'm having sex! All the time! With your best friend's son! And oh! He totally knocked me up! Pass the sugar please!

I have no idea how old either of my parents were when they lost their virginity. I never thought to ask.  I'm not entirely sure I want to know their answers either because it would be like opening the lid to Pandora's box. I'd be admitting to myself my parents actually have bumped uglies and I wasn't dropped from the sky in a wicker basket by some cartoonish looking stork.

Yet, much like my daughter, I have a curious nature. And my daughter's boldness inspired me. So throwing caution to the wind, I picked up the phone and called my father.

"Hey Dad. Whatcha doing?" I casually asked.

We chatted for a moment about the weather, our plans for the day, the general nothings that consist of years of routine conversations and general politeness. I could picture my dad sitting at his kitchen table, a smoke in one hand and his mug of coffee before him as he spoke to me on the phone.

"So Dad, I have a question for you."

"Ya? What would that be?" I'm sure he expected me to ask him something vehicle related since he's my go-to guy when Boo is absent.

"Well, I was wondering something. How old were you when you lost your virginity?"

Silence. I could see the smoke from his cigarette curl around his face in my mind. "What??" he finally choked out.

"How old were you when you popped your cherry? Handed out your V chip? Straddled the mare for the first time? You know. How old where you when you first had sex with another person?" My pulse was racing. Already I was wishing I could turn back the clock and take it back. Damn my kid for making me want to know my parents history a bit better. This is all Fric's fault.

"Why the hell do you want to know that?" he squawked ackwardly.

"Well you know. In the interests of history, learning more about you. Father daughter closeness. That sorta thing. That and the fact Fric asked me that question the other day and I was curious." I was full on babbling at this point.

"Fric asked when *I* lost my virginity? What kinda sam hell kid are you raising over there?"

"No Dad, she asked me when *I* lost my virginity and that got me wondering about yours. Well, got me wondering how you'd react if I asked you the same question."

"Oh. Well, did you answer her?"

"Well, not really. I kinda tapped danced around it. She's only 14. I figure it can wait a few years. Me? I'm 35 and you're old. Our time is running out."

"I see."

"So, ya. How old where you?" Nothing like pushing the issue at hand and seeing just how long it would take him to keel over from a stroke.

"I'm still waiting to lose it. Haven't found a willing filly."

"Very funny Dad. Har har. You've got children. That look like you. The gig's up. I know you're a stud."

"It wasn't me. I take no responsibility for you kids. I mean, look how you turned out."

Point taken.

We joked for a few moments and then ended the call, him relieved to escape with the truth still intact and withheld and me relieved to not have to call 911 to have emergency services revive my shocked father. I'm pretty sure he's not going to take any of my phone calls in the immediate future. I can't really blame him.

I imagine I will one day share my history with my children and tell them all about my past romances, if only for the reason I want them to know who Tanis is and see me as more than just their mom.

Well that and I really don't want my kids phoning me some morning in the distant future and ruining my coffee by asking me when I scored my first home run. I'm not sure my ticker is as strong as my dad's obviously is.