Today we had to have a very uncomfortable (for me) discussion in my family. It was a conversation about a sensitive topic. A personal topic. A topic so private, that I will publish the entire conversation on the internet for the whole world to read.
The conversation went a little something like this.
I was standing in the kitchen making some sugary sweet delight for my tummy, when my daughter Huggy, who is VERY young and innocent, walked up to me and asked “Mommy, what’s a virgin?”
I may have shot wine out my nose.
Normally when Huggy asks a question it is about pink fluffy unicorns or how doctors perform surgery. I am very poorly educated on both of these topics, so we usually turn to YouTube. This was probably not a topic I should be googling with my young children.
To complicate matters, Baby Snarky was also in the room and was, for once in his life, listening attentively. I’m pretty sure my older three children, who have all had some form of “The Talk”, were just around the corner snickering.
Now as a parent one of the first things you learn is that you don’t want to answer a different question than the child is actually asking. The last thing you want to see is the look of shock and horror on your four year old’s face as you graphically describe “Mom and Dad’s Special Time” when all your child was asking for was the best place to buy a doll. (If you’re creative, you can probably write your own story there.)
Not wanting to misunderstand the question, I answered her with another question. “Well, Sweetie, where did you hear that word?” I was kind of hoping that her actual question had been “Who is Virgil?” or “What is an orphan?” or “Can I get you some chocolate to go with that wine?”
No such luck.
“You know, Mommy. Like in the song. ‘Round yon virgin'”
Oh, now I get it. I thought. This is the punishment you get for playing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving!
I decided to start with a very vague answer and see if she asked any more questions. I also decided that this vague answer needed to be highly appropriate for a young audience so I said “A virgin is just someone who has never been married.”
I’ll wait while you stop laughing.
Huggy thought about it for a second and said “Oh, so I’m a virgin?”
“Um, YES.” I answered “Definitely yes.”
Then Huggy started a celebratory dance around the kitchen table while shouting triumphantly “I’m a virgin!” over and over and over.
It was at this point that her little brother joined in the dancing shouting “I’m a virgin too!” (a scene which I’m sure they have scheduled to reenact the very next time we go to Target. Or better yet church. Or even better at Thanksgiving dinner, because Great Grandma probably doesn’t worry about the weirdness of our family enough.
Then, suddenly, Baby Snarky brought the whole thing to a screeching halt as he wailed “Wait! I’m NOT a virgin! I MARRIED THE DOG!” (Another long, funny story that I will tell at a different time. Let me just calm all of your worries as I assure you that none of my children are actually married to any animals.)
Baby Snarky was now devastated. The Virgin Club seemed like a pretty cool place to be… after he lost his membership.
I then spent some time explaining to my youngest son that a marriage performed by your seven year old sister in your living room is probably not legal. No matter how fancy you dressed the dog.
(Wow. Not a paragraph I thought I’d ever write.)
Baby Snarky was so relieved that he could still do the virgin dance, that he was not at all upset by the realization that he was not legally married to any of the household pets. I was relieved that my answer was enough for now, and The Pastor is relieved that he no longer has to explain to strangers why his son is introducing our dog as his wife. Now he only has to explain the virgin dance.