THE BIRDS AND THE BEES

Sex Ed

Last night I was sitting in front of my laptop doing what I do best—wasting hours of my life on Facebook—when it happened.

“Mom, did you and my dad ever have sex?”

Because it came so completely out of the blue, I froze like a deer in headlights, taking some time to process the question. A flurry of answers flooded my brain all at once: “No.” “Only one time.” “What do you think?” (Answer a question with a question in hope of veering off topic.)

“Yes,” I said. “That’s how we made you.”

My 11-year-old son stared at me in horror and confusion, or rather, as if he were watching a replay of Miley Cyrus twerking on the VMAs. “Ewwww, how did that happen?”

I hauled myself out of my chair and went over to join him on the couch, thinking, Choose your words carefully so as not to scar him for life. Was I supposed to get technical here and explain that sex was like putting 2 Legos together? Be funny and say, “Well son, it usually happens when you’ve had too many shots…” Lie, and tell him it didn’t happen until I turned 30?

“It happens when 2 people love each other.” (I was careful not to say “a man and a woman,” because I want him to grow up to be progressive and tolerant.) Just as I was forming the anatomical visuals in my mind, he dropped another bombshell question: “Why aren’t you and my daddy together anymore?”

I wanted to tell my son to read my blog, except I’ve written too many posts about his penis. Instead, I said that sometimes people love each other, but can’t live together—which is a total cop-out answer, I know. But is “Because honey, your father is Dysfunctional with a capital D” any better?

“I’ll always love your father, but we’re not able to live together because we don’t get along. I love him, but I’m not ‘in love’ with him like a boyfriend and girlfriend should be.” Gah, I felt like a politician spewing a sound bite.

“I don’t want you to get a boyfriend,” he said. Oh man, really? It’s already been 10 years. Is it going to be like that for the next 10? A vision of a tombstone with the words “My Sex Drive” flashed in my mind and I wanted to sob.

When I asked him why, he said, “Because then you won’t pay any attention to me.” Awww. I am his world, this much is true.

“I will always love you and I will always pay attention to you. If I ever get a boyfriend, I have enough love to go around.” (Not enough energy, but love, yes…)

And then in typical boy fashion, he farted loudly. We both laughed, the subject was changed and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A mother can only take so much at one time.

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MY ESCAPE FROM REALITY

Those words right there are why I write romance. Those words embody my characters’ motivation, their raison d’être. And while they may have obstacle upon obstacle keeping them apart, ultimately they achieve their own happily ever after.

My taste in books BC (Before Child) was often very eclectic. I read my fair share of traditional romances, but I always balanced them out with more thought-provoking prose like Hemingway and Jane Austen.

Then AD (After Delivery) + one year of breastfeeding (which equaled 365 sleepless nights) + many craptastic happenings resulted in:

 

  1.  The feeling of being brain-dead, often with the inability to put sentences together
  2. Previous time spent reading was now occupied by CHILD
  3. Zero desire to read about craptastic things happening to other people

 

When I finally had more than five seconds to myself, I started to read again. But nothing heavy. I didn’t want to read about murder or heartbreak or family dysfunction—I had enough of that in real life. I didn’t want to read about anything resembling reality, because my reality, and the reality of those around me sucked quite frankly.

No, I wanted to get the hell away from reality. And I wanted to be able to do it in increments of two pages at a time. I wanted light, and funny, and romantic, because my life was anything but. And at the end of the day, I wanted—no, NEEDED a happy ending.

So when I decided to start a second novel, I chose to write what I had been reading—romantic comedy. I wanted to give back what was given to me, specifically a lot of laughs, a sense of romance, and a much-needed escape from reality.