Requiem for a first kiss

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Kisses are important things, crucial connections we have with one another as humans. They are necessary and joyous. They are awesome.

But should I be discussing them with my pre-teen boys?

I guess I have to when they bring them up.

“Do you and daddy make out?”

I look across the table, sigh, then turn back to face Eli, breathe in and out deeply, and dig in.

“Yes,” I say. “Actually we do.”

I look away like I always do when a scene in a movie or book or real life stresses me out. I think I see Eli nod, as if maybe he suspected as much and wanted to see if I would lie or dance around it. If this was a test, I crossed my fingers that maybe I had passed.

Kissing is clearly a hot topic among the 11-year-old set. Eli has asked me a number of times when I had my first kiss. I tell him it was with Eddie Caballero, when I was 12.

When he presses me for details, I explain I’m not sure who kissed who, but I hope it was a mutually agreed upon cataclysm.

Then there is the matter of the why it happened at all.

I’m not sure the answer to that exists. It just happens.

I empathize with my progeny as he tries to wrap his head around that first fluttering of attraction that forced lips against lips after months of conversations after school. I understand that he wonders if a kiss is a sign of something even greater, of a crazy, secret connection between two people that he can only fantasize about.

I want so desperately to offer sound advice on who my kids should first kiss, on when, and where. I would love for the outcome to be phenomenal, the memory to be emblazoned forever as a pure positive.

I wants to explain it to my boys, with lots of mushy adjectives, the joys of making out when you feel really connected to someone.

But I hold back on the details, and certainly offer up no visuals. My husband and I are not very open when it comes to actually making out. That is kept behind closed doors, so to the boys, it is a weird, unknown world.

And so I move forward, maintaining something between silence and TMI on the subject of S-E-X and its nascent manifestations. I keep my fingers crossed that they will find their way. And I’m here if they need me, to field questions, even those questions that seem to have no answers.

Some things, I’ve been told, you cannot learn from your mother.

Read Fearless Parenting every other Thursday on
Updated 5:38 pm, July 9, 2018
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