Setting Boundaries

As I am currently contemplating the content on this new blog, I have been feeling a bit like a new parent, wondering where the boundaries need to be set…what to share and what to hold back….

In the home where I was raised, we could talk about anything at the dinner table–from politics to algebra questions to everyday experiences to music to sex.  (What we absolutely weren’t allowed to do at the dinner table was break out in song…my dad’s dad used to say, “You sing at the table and you’ll cry before night.”  Though I still have no idea what that really means, we were diligent, non-singers at the table…a rule which I have not passed on to the family with whom I am currently living.)

When my husband and I had our first child, we resolved to be open with him in all areas.  Before he started kindergarten, we talked together about sex (which became more of the “How You Make a Baby” talk, since I had given birth to several children since he had entered our life).  When he came home with experiences about racial prejudice in the classroom (yes, in kindergarten), we addressed those concerns with teachings to embrace diversity and know that we are all working together as members of this planet.  When boys were saying the “F-word” at school, we made time to talk about that, as well, and how to intelligently speak our minds.  And, of course, when he came to ask me questions about sex, I tried to be informative and answer his questions.  Until one day recently when I was cutting his hair….

“Mom, what does sex feel like?”

I’ m sure I stopped my scissors so I could absorb the impact of the question.  I took a breath, (said a silent prayer for calming and inspiration), and spoke.  “If you have questions about the physical nature of sex, I will happily answer them to the best of my knowledge, but I am not going to answer any questions pertaining to my personal relationship.”

My answer drifted through the air where it hung just a minute until he nodded and shrugged, somehow a little satisfied.  A flash of inspiration hit, and I went on, “Is your school day ever the same?”

“No,” came his answer.

“What about family dinner?”

“No.”

“What about when you brush your teeth?  Is that basically the same experience each time you do it?”

“Yea, pretty much.”

“Okay, well, when you participate in an experience that has another person, your experience is going to change and vary each time, right?  Like dinnertime, and school, and even road trips.  We can go visit the same city more than once, but each time the dynamic changes.  When you do things with other people, they bring whatever they are feeling into the experience, along with whatever you are feeling in that moment, and so similar moments in life are different each time, right?”

“Yea.”

I continued to cut his hair without further ado.

And so, while sharing experiences without getting all-too-personal (maybe I’ve already crossed that line today?), I will continue on this journey.  Hopefully the writing will continue to flow a bit, and, like a new parent with a new child, I will make mistakes about boundaries.  So, I’m asking your forgiveness now as I continue to muse and record and write about this area of my life…in the middle of my story.

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Karin

Writer, freelance editor, mother, artist...I wear a few other hats, as well, of course. :)

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