“Come on in, Billy. Sit down on the couch next to him, Sally. There you go. Comfortable? Yes? Ok. Good. Well. Mom and I wanted to take some time this afternoon to have a talk with you.”
“Is this another dorky family meeting?”
“Well, yes and no, Billy, and those meetings aren’t dorky, thank you very much young man. Occasionally Team Blevins has to come together.”
Sally rolled her eyes.
“Now Sally, that’s not respectful of your mother or me.”
Sally stared ahead at her parents, smacking her gum, wishing she was back up in her room, texting her friends or maybe thinking about dreamy Michael Kowolsky from 5th period math class. She had even written Sally Kowolsky several times in her math notebook. In various wedding invitation scripts, of course.
“Now, your mother and I think that it’s time, as a family, that we have a talk about the two of you.”
“What did we do? I haven’t done anything! Sally’s the disrespectful one…”
“Now, Billy, stop right there,” Mindy Blevins interjected. “No one’s in trouble.”
Billy Blevins slid down into the couch, silently thankful that his failing science grade and recently lost bike were not yet public knowledge.
“Kids,” Mike Blevins began cautiously, “you’re both starting junior high, getting older, and, well, your mom and I know that things are changing.”
Billy and Sally exchanged puzzled glances. Mindy Blevins dug her well manicured fingernails subtly into her thigh, resisting the urge to blush.
“Ahem, well, yes,” Mike continued, “well, I’m sure you’ve both noticed these changes.”
“Are we moving? Seriously, are we moving?” Sally Blevins protested. “Not again!” She slapped her 11 year old hands down on her acid washed skinny jeans in protest. “I just made a new friend. Monica’s awesome. Why do we have to move?” Sally thought to herself, “away from Michael Kowolsky…”
“Young lady,” Mike softly barked, “that’s enough. No one is moving.”
“Moving would be cool,” chimed Billy. Billy saw an opening to escape his current report card, and he went for it.
“Billy, please,” Mindy exclaimed. “Your father and I want you both to be quiet and listen. Is that so hard? Thank you. You were saying, hon'”
Mike Blevins wiped his brow and sat up straight. “Yes, well, your mother and I know that you’re both going through some changes. Umm, some changes in your bodies.”
Billy Blevins muttered “Gross” under his breath softly.
“And maybe you’ve noticed your friends at school changing.”
Sally Blevins thought about dreamy Michael Kowolsky.
“Getting taller. Voices changing. Maybe some whiskers on chins and legs. And, ummm,” Mike Blevins hesitated, “Honey you wanted to take it from there?”
Mindy Blevins, looking a little perturbed at the fact that her husband hadn’t even got the horse out of the stall, much less the stable, picked up the mantle. “Well, kids, we just wanted you to know that this is all very normal. Nothing to be ashamed about. A lot of kids can have a tough time during this period, and we just wanted both of you to know that we are here for both of you. We can talk anytime. We want Team Blevins to have open lines of communication.”
“Okay. Can I go upstairs now?”
“No, Sally, you can’t. What your mother and I are trying to say is that we want to be here for you. This is important.”
“And your father and I want you both to know that, as these things change, you may get some unusual feelings.”
“Feelings?” Billy inquired. “Am I gonna be sad?”
“Well, no,” Mike Blevins responded, silently wanting to say that his son might actually feel great, but he restrained himself. “No, nothing like that.”
“That’s right. it’s just that, around this time, as some kids begin to mature, well, your father and I want you two to know that some kids start to experiment.”
“In science, we get to experiment on a frog.”
“Thank you, Billy. Your mother is talking about something different.”
“Yes, and this experimenting is natural too, but, in this family, in Team Blevins, we believe that that’s the sort of thing you do only once you’re married.”
“Huh?” Billy asked, obviously lost without a clue. Sally continued to stare ahead, expressionless.
“What your mother is saying is that, when a man and a woman feel special towards each other, and of course only once they’re married, that, umm, sometimes they have a special hug.”
“A hug?” Billy earnestly inquired. Sally’s look transitioned from expressionless to vacant.
“Yes, that’s it, a special hug,” Mindy Blevins added, sensing the opportunity to swaddle her embarrassment in an innocuous euphemism. “A special, magical hug.”
Mike Blevins cringed, sensing the train derailing. “And,”
“And, that special, magical hug is for mommies and daddies only,” Mindy quickly continued, her courage draining by the second. “We know you two know the difference between a good touch and a bad touch, and we want you both to remember that too.”
Mike Blevins startled, listening to his wife wrapping up the talk only minutes after it began.
“Just keep your hands to yourself. Does that make sense?” Mindy asked.
Mike Blevins stared at his wife, unsure where to go next, if anywhere at all.
“Yes. Okay,” Billy responded, still unsure of the point of the family meeting.
“Do either of you have any questions?” Mike added, unwilling to forge ahead if his wife had cold feet. “You can ask your mother or I anything. We want you to always feel free to talk to us. We’re here for you.”
“No, I’m good,” Billy said.
“Me too,” Sally added. “May we be excused?”
Mike and Mindy Blevins looked at each other, silently admitting with their eyes that all had not gone to plan, but also admitting that the will and energy to dive deeper had vanished.
“Sure, I’m glad we had this chat. Your father and I love you both very much. We want you to be safe. We want the best for you, because you deserve the best!” Mindy felt like ending on an inspirational note would smooth over the rough spots of the talk.
“Okay” was the simultaneous response of Billy and Sally as they bounded out of the living room and up the stairs to their respective rooms.
Billy ran into his room, slammed shut the door, jumped on his bed, and pulled out his tub of green army men. It was time for a great battle, and, within a few minutes, the family meeting was lost to him forever.
Sally walked into her room and closed the door quietly. She sat down on her pink bean bag and pulled out her phone. She pulled up her new BFF Monica’s information and started a text.
Sally: OMG, you will never believe what my stupid ‘rents just did!!!
Monica: Srsly?! What?
Sally: Like, we had this stupid family meeting. So stupid. Like, they were SUPER nervous.
Monica: About what?
Sally: Well, when they started, so stupid, I thought they were going to talk to me and my brother about sex, but they never did. Turns out, there’s a special hug men and women can do? Srsly! Did you know that?
Sally: Think Michael Kowolsky knows how to do this special hug?
Monica: Bet he does.
Sally: Think he’d show me?