How the Moments Count
I love it when I can get dressed from a pile of clean laundry; bonus points if it’s a work day. We pile our laundry on the couch where it serves as an excuse to sit down and watch TV while we fold. Last night my partner, son and I watched an episode of The Fosters while I patted the dog and she did most of the folding (thanks, honey).
If you haven’t seen it, The Fosters is a show about a lesbian couple and their kids. The eldest kid is from the heterosexual marriage of one partner (and her ex plays a role in the drama), and the other four are fosters, mostly teens. The name of the family is Foster and they are fosters- I know, a little cute.
In the episode we watched, one of the characters got out of her depth at a party. She thought she was gently flirting with a guy; he thought she was suggesting sex, and responded in kind. When she expressed surprise and made it clear she wasn’t interested in the kind of sex he was, he got mad, made some obnoxious shaming comments, and stomped out. It could have gone worse, and given the reality for many people, it does in these situations. But this is a family TV drama that’s pretty mild, so it took the route it did.
I spoke up about how the boy misunderstood and was frustrated, but it was reasonable for the girl to say what she intended and refuse to have sex. My son nodded. This morning I brought it up with him again:
“You know, I was thinking about that scene in the Fosters last night.”
“It showed how people can have different ideas about sex, and even though they might appear the same in one moment, they aren’t. And you’re allowed to say no to things that you don’t want or aren’t comfortable with. Everybody is.”
“I know that mom,” he said as he was calmly packing his bag for school.
I appreciate that I might have been hammering home a point that I’d already made, but I didn’t want to miss it. At twelve, he’s not surly (yet, and please let it wait), but he is moving more into himself, as is expected at this age- his sister did the same. He’s becoming more introspective and independent. I want to keep the conversation about relationships and sex regular at home, so as they start to shape who they are, they incorporate these conversations. I know they may not hear me or heed me all the time because of teen brain, but the times they do, I hope it sinks in.