by Cherie Logan
“It’s not so bad here,” said Chalae. “I keep looking and don’t see anything worse than what is on T.V.”
“It’s noon, that’s why.”
“What did you expect – naked people walking the streets?”
“I want to go stand on a corner and see what happened.” Commented my lovely daughter with – please believe me – high moral values.
“Not on your life.” I firmly shouted above the instant roar of nine teenage girls.
She shrugged and smiled. “Dad could stand next to me.”
Firmly holding my ground, I remarked, “Right. Young teen girl. Old man. Not going to happen.”
Suddenly the car shook with laughter from everybody except Chalae. Puzzled, she asked, “What?” And then the picture I presented grabbed her and she laughed louder than everybody. “That’s not what I meant…” She gasped between continued bursts of laughter.
The exhibit was incredible, beautiful, respectful and remarkably spiritual. There was a dramatic difference in likeability between the group of girls Chrystal’s age and the ones around Chalae’s age. The younger girls walked through, quickly going from one exhibit to the next and then hung out together on the balcony exit and waited for the rest of us. The older girls hovered around Neil – Dr. Logan – while he talked about each exhibit and answered their questions. I loved seeing my husband patiently – for the most part, anyway – sharing his knowledge with the girls. These girls came away with a respect and awe over the human body and God’s creations.
On the way home, and out of smoky Nevada, we stopped for dinner. It was hard to hear the girls in the very back of the van, so when the engine turned off, I finally heard my daughter, Chrystal’s, seemingly off-the-wall question. “Mom, what does (insert a boy’s name here) mean?”
“It is a nickname for Richard.”
“That’s my grandpa’s name,” said one girl.
“But what else does it mean?” Persisted my almost 14-year-old daughter.
“What?” I could almost pretend to not hear because of my very real hearing loss. How would YOU answer? ‘That’s silly, it means Richard.’ ‘It’s too noisy in the van, I can’t hear you.’ ‘Let’s talk about it later.’ ‘It’s something we don’t talk about.’
She emphatically repeated, “You know, if somebody says, ‘You are a (boy’s name – okay, it IS a boy’s NAME . . .)’, what are they saying?”
I respond the way I always do. I’m famous for it. Some teens have been heard to actually say, “DON’T ASK SISTER LOGAN BECAUSE SHE’LL ANSWER!” But they do anyway. I sigh and say, “They’re saying that you are a (insert THE male body part in correct terminology).”
A sleeping girl, somehow, tuned into that one word, woke in shock and said, “What?” Thinking it was the girls way in the back, I repeated – loudly – and amid gales of laughter they all tumbled out to go into dinner.
I’m left to ponder and question my place in the world. I’m a mentor to mothers who want to grow their family into connected greatness. I’ve instructed these mothers in classes covering over 100 subjects, including are my extremely popular classes on teen communication and how to help them maneuver to adulthood through Filling in the Generation Gap. I promise parents that It Gets Easier as they deal with beloved teens. But really, exactly how important is it to have a mom who speaks plainly, honestly, and accurately? I may teach it, I may live it, and our family has proven it – but really?
Later that night, my older daughter commented on that parking lot conversation. “One of the girls wanted to know what it meant and asked Chrystal. She said, ‘I’ll ask my mom,’ because she knew you’d answer.”
There it is – The One Who Answers - my place in the world.