Friday, 26th of August, 2016
Before the sun rose my eyes opened because my ears were full of crickets and cicadas. Let’s not imagine that too literally, those of you that are skittish from crawlers might get a fright. The insect sound that echoed all around had changed, and I knew, the crickets and cicadas were telling me summer was over. I am sorry if you can not hear such things yourself, but we all know those that can. I always marvel that summer does not end on a date, but when the plants and animals tell us so. Last year it was the ticks that gave me the message, this year the cicadas and crickets.
The insects continued to buzz, and as the day heated up, I kept in mind this series of hot days was likely summer’s last hurrah. Would there be an Indian summer like last year I wondered? Either way it would be enjoyed, Maine was going to be beautiful, and fresh, and just what we needed no matter how it unfolded.
The girls were both eager for breakfast and it was decided I would bake date muffins. Hunger had the girls sitting and waiting for the muffins to cook. I was using the 15 minutes of baking time to empty kitchen cupboards, and take stock of what was left in the fridge and on shelves. A bottle of Holy Basil caught my attention and I knew I could do with it. Filling a cup a little, I droppered the essence into water, then drank it down in one swig.
“What was that?” Maya asked.
“It is Holy Basil, an adaptogen to help you make the best of any given situation.” I said.
“Does it taste good?” Maya asked.
“Well the taste is powerful, it is like medicine, so yes, it tastes good.” I said.
Elle had been watching the clock and she was being impatient. I had checked to see if the muffins were cooked twice already on her prompting. I like that she monitors the muffins and to help her learn I go along with her intuition, which was not quite right on this day because she was overly hungry. Each time she wanted them to be ready she would say:
“Cuckoo, the muffins and ready…. cuckoo, the muffins are ready… cuckoo, the muffins are ready.”
This would continue, like a cuckoo clock until I checked the muffins. When this happened the third time, I looked at her and tersely said, “Enough Elle please!” To which she replied. “Didn’t you just take your medicine so you could cope with any situation?”
I felt a little flabbergasted at that moment and went and sat myself down on the sofa, next to Cam who was playing the guitar. Cam plays the guitar every morning. As he strummed away in his calm creative world, I began to speak. “Do you know, it can be exhausting having created smart children!” Cam kept strumming his guitar.
Then I was inspired, on the spot to make up a poem, like life is just one big delightful melodrama to act out. I stood up and recited it to Cam. Then I went and took the muffins out of the oven.
If you are speaking tersely take some tulsi
It will really hit the spot.
It does not grow on trees,
You’ll find it at your knees!
Be sure that you gather a lot.
Another account of the day…
Maya was by my side in bed and as the light began to lift, I looked at her sleeping. A soft inner voice had something to reflect and accept. “One day other people will stare at her beauty while she sleeps.” I had to take a deep breath to calm myself over such a thought. “Please may there always be love and respect from those that look upon this girl.” prayed to the collective conscious.
We had a mother daughter sleepover last night. Maya slept with me and we had chatted the sun down, face to face on pillows. Just as we were getting settled Cam came to the bedroom door and said, “Don’t stay up talking all night.” It made me feel like a girl again, and I loved that Cam considered what was taking place, a sleepover. The funny thing was, what made it a sleepover was because of the way in which we were talking, and what we were talking about. It was like Cam knew when he came to say goodnight, that we were having a special time together. Just like friends. I do not try to be Maya’s friend. But we are friends. She talks to me about everything, and vice versa.
Maya had started this conversation earlier in the day. Sitting on the threshold of our back door when she was eating a popsicle. I was sitting with her, watching her eat and listening to her talk. “Mum do you know, I have liked him for five years, and he has never kissed me.” I looked at her, so brave and honest and real, and I pursed my lips, and in a comical way I said, “I know, it is ridiculous, I don’t know what is wrong with him?”
A smile spread across Maya’s face, because she needed to hear it was an error that this young man had not kissed her. I do not actually think there is anything wrong with the young man she has talked so often about, but Maya knows my childhood involved all sorts of kissing games, and they were so light and carefree, uninhibited and fun. She has always felt herself inclined to agree that kissing games would be great, if only her one and only male homeschool friend would go along with it. Even our neighbor Nina had joined in this conversation with us on another day, sharing her first kiss story, that was from a boy named Bobby Riley in kindergarten who wore a bow tie. Over and over we were revisiting this theme, because it was important to her.
“You know I do not think anything is wrong with him, but he has sent you mixed messages over the years so I can see why it is confusing. I am sure he is just trying to work it out himself, and one day when the time is right, and the person is right, he will be brave and kiss, and I guess that just won’t be you.” I said gently to Maya.
Maya looked a little disappointed, and I loved that even though trying to kiss and cuddle this child is sometimes like washing cat, she seems to be very excited to explore healthy physical relationships with her peers. This natural curiosity is bubbling out of her, and it is like I am looking upon the fountain of youth. I feel incredibly blessed that she is willing to share it with me, it pacifies my heart that I will always be on hand to help her process, and make wise choices. Love can make or break life.
“No-one should ever be put under pressure to kiss, I think it is something you want to do or do not want to do. Of course there is the grey area too, where you might want to do it and not want to do it at the same time. For a while it can be a see-saw in your mind, until finally you just tip forward and your lips touch!” I said, thinking of all of the times I was nervous to kiss someone, and the bravery and confidence it takes.
Our conversation ended as I found myself needing to do a chore. Our day passed in a predictable way given we move house in less than a week.
When bedtime came around and Maya requested to sleep with me, and I said yes. I like that I have my own bed and any one of my family members is welcome to sleep in it with me whenever we want.
Maya made her self comfortable under the sheets. I was very, very tired and to start with I said. “You can talk and I will just listen. I can not talk, I am too tired.” Maya begged a little and before long, I was involved once again in a conversation about kissing. I found myself wondering if other mothers of almost teenagers are having the same conversations?
“The important thing is that you are kissing the right person.” I said. Maya became a little worried. “How do you know if it is the right person?” She asked.
“Well that is a good question. firstly, you might like what they look like, but you must not stop there. After you establish who is attractive to you, then you need to get to know their personality. It might be that the most appealing boy outwardly, is not as nice to you, and that there is another boy, who might not capture your attention with his looks right away, but has a great personality. Sometime it can be that someone’s personality is what attracts you first. It is really important to know their personality because otherwise the whole kissing situation might not be as good.”
The more I spoke about it, the more I released what a confusing, and exciting time adolescence is. I felt for Maya because there is no one right answer. Simultaneously I was overjoyed at her curiosity and her desire to explore what it is to know love.
Maya and I had been discussing that when she goes to school she is going to meet lots of new people. Her social world is about to expand, and she needed to talk about this outwardly. She will be in a composite class of 5th and 6th graders, and there will be more children to interact with on a daily basis than she is used to. As I explained what it is to know if you like a boy, I quickly became more mindful.
“Of course, you can kiss anyone you want, a boy or girl, so I should not assume you are going to kiss a boy.” I said with a light free spirit. Maya knows we live in a wonderful world where people can love one another regardless of gender, and I have explained to her in the past people have not always been so open and accepting, and in fact some people are still stricken by fear over same-sex relationships. Maya is such an astute child, and I was reminded of this when she said, “Is that why in Grease, when they are at the dance, one of the rules is that the dancers have to be boy and girl partners?”
My mind went wow, wow, wow.
Grease was Maya’s summer more “grown-up” movie that we let her watch. It is PG, and so we watched it together. I knew the exact scene in the movie she was talking about. “Yes.” I said. Thinking how ingrained the conditioning is and how good it feels to be a progressive family. Part of healing the past damage that was done to community, is that we no longer causally assume children will always from love interest in the opposite sex. We must make a point to always mindfully include and embrace a future of our girls having a girlfriends, and boys having boyfriends.
“It might be that the boy you think is the cutest in your class is gay, so when you meet all your new class members, you have to take time to work out the soul dynamics, of who likes what and who likes who. There will be relationships already formed, and over time you will gradually become aware of that.” I said.
Maya was enjoying this conversation very much, I could tell that it was fodder, it was satisfying her. Relationships, girlfriends and boyfriend and kissing is occupying her mind in a big way, and there were so many questions she needed answering.
“It might be that the boy you find yourself liking, is also liked by other girls in the class, so you have to be mindful of each other’s feelings, and also your own.” I said, thinking of myself at this age. “I remember when Leon stopped liking me and started liking Angela, I was very upset. I still liked Angela as a good friend though.” I said. “Then Leon started liking Richelle. I think that bothered me more because Leon and always sort of liked both me and Angela, but when he started liking Richelle, I was not used to that.”
Maya loves to hear my childhood stories about kissing Leon, and I have told them to her over and over. “You know, the only reason I think we played kissing games at school was because Leon and I liked to kiss. I think Leon and I were predisposed to it, then all the others went along with the games too.” I mused. Leon and I were very affectionate, if I were to guess, it was a from our mothers, who I think were similar.
Some of my best school memories are of playing catch and kiss. Running like wildlings to the tree behind the weather shed that was the preferred kissing spot. Arms would grasp, hands would pull. With a mix of mock disappointment and delight for being caught, lips would smack quickly on cheeks then off we would dash to be caught all over again.
Maya wanted to hear my primary school and highschool boyfriends in chronological order from beginning to end. “In primary school there was only one boy I liked, Leon, and in secondary, well I will tell you more when you are that age yourself.” I said. Maya protested, and began to beg. “Please Mum, please. Who was your next boyfriend?” I had to give in because she was just so excited to know. “Oh Maya!” I said, then I continued. “Ok, well my next boyfriend was when I was in 8th grade, and his name was Jamie. He was a soccer star, and he lived at not far from us and I would go over to the soccer club to watch him play his game and then I would go over to his house and listen to music with him, and his little brother would spy on us.”
Maya thought this was hilarious, she particularity liked the account of the pesky young brother hiding at the window, looking in. “What were you doing?” She said. This time I had to stop the story there. “As I said, I will tell you more when you are older.” I knew that Maya would file away this story as she has done all the other stories and she would repeatedly try to coax more details out of me. I truly enjoy this slow drip of sharing my life with her, I know it makes for a precious bloom.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue
2 thoughts on “8. Holy Basil, Boyfriend Talk”
How old is she? My son is ten. We talk about all sorts of things, sometimes girls and crushes and things of the sort. Mostly, though, we talk about friends and classmates… It is shifting, though. I love what a great relationship you have with your girls.
Thank you Kelly, yes, Maya is ten. Lovely to hear you talk of such things with your son too.