I want to start by saying that I wasn't sure that I would post this... I wanted to write it out and keep it so I had it and to make sure there wasn't any angles we might have missed and needed to cover with our kids. I seem to see things more clearly now when I write them out and really read it back and have Alex read it all out too. He and I agreed that not everyone will agree with telling their kids/young adults about DD and so it would open us up to criticism .. But then I told him I did that the day I started blogging and that I think it's a honest part of our journey that may help some one else or at least show how we work as a family.. When I first started this blog I did it with the feeling it was mine, but I was wrong. This blog has become another tool we use in our marriage, it is another way for Alex to see into me and for me to show him and myself how I am feeling or seeing things.
This is our blog and parts of our journey together that we have chosen to share.
I have wondered when the time would come to talk with our kids about our DD dynamic, never if.. but when. Alex started talking with Kyle last year about dating and the leadership role of a man in relationships and marriage. We have a no dating rule until the age of 16 and we must meet the person they wish to date and approve of their date activities. Our kids have been taught that dating should be for the purpose of finding a spouse, not for game or momentary fun/pleasure. The no sex until married is also a very strong message we have given them over the years as well. Of course they get these same values pressed into them in church twice a week as well. They have a WONDERFUL youth group at our church and the kids love it. Lori and Jay just started with their kids last Sunday and of all things for the youth group to study, it was the role of husbands and wives in a marriage.
They kept all the kids together for the message and then broke them up by gender and then school zones so the kids that attend school together would discuss the topics a bit more in detail. As you can imagine all the kids were trying to compare what they see at home with their parents to what was taught as being the biblical view of a husband and wife and their roles. The youth leaders were trying their best to not turn this into my parents do this or that conversations, but ask the kids how they felt about what the bible says and how they felt about the roles in marriage. I guess a few girls thought VERY differently about leadership in marriage either being 50/50 or that in some cases women should just take charge because times have changed and women rule. :0) (Alissa described it that way. She is Jay and Lori's oldest and in my opinion very mature and level headed for 17.) Kaylee and her cousins Alissa and Clare were all in the same group. Kyle and his cousin Scott were also in the same group together, so they all had similar parent role models to pull from. (Not that any of us parents knew any of this right away. I only found out all this background information on Monday when I was alone with Kaylee!)
After church we had a family BBQ at our house and while the adults were busy cooking and setting up the tables outside we got a visit from the "informer". Lori and Jay's youngest daughter Sophie has been dubbed as the "informer", as she loves to come and let us know what the older kids are into or up to. She gets a very official voice when she does this, as if she is doing her job and wants to make sure we all know how serious this job is... This particular announcement was done in the same way.
Sophie: "You should know that Kyle told Meg and me we were not allowed in the game room, since we have young ears! They even shut the door in our faces and it was very rude and I told them so through the door too. I was outside the door waiting for them to come out and I heard Scott say Daddy spanks Mommy. Is that true?"
Lori broke two of my glasses (she was setting the table) and Alex dropped the dish of veggies onto the ground that were suppose to end up on the grill. I went into the house and found Meg and told her to go outback with Sophie. Then I went into the game room and let the teenagers know that the informer just asked us if Jay spanks Lori because Scott said so... Then I pointed to the door and said move it people we have some damage control to do. Jay asked Scott if there was something he wanted to tell Sophie and of course that had Scott on his knees in front of Sophie apologizing for playing a trick on her. He said he knew she was listening at the door and so he was pulling a prank on her and it was mean and he was really sorry. (Fast on his feet or I guess knees!) She and Meg looked at each other and decided he was telling the truth and worthy of forgiving so he had his arms full of little girls and we went on with the BBQ. The four of us parents decided to handle this with our own kids first and if we needed to bring them together as a group we would do that after. I always wished we had a larger family like Jay and Lori, but right about now I was thankful we only had two to worry about.
Sunday night after Jay's family left we got the kids to help us clean up and then we sat down as a family. Alex asked Kyle to please explain what conversation took place up in the game room and why little Sophie would be asking if Jay spanked Lori. Kyle explained about the message in church was on roles in marriage and what the bible said they should be and how the kids got to talk about it after and how a bunch of the kids didn't agree.
Kyle: "Dad you would be shocked how many guys think it's cool for the girls to take charge. Like none of them want to take the leadership and they don't even see why they should. It's like they think time has changed how things are and the bible is outdated or whatever. But like most of them come from divorced parents so you would think they would get a clue."
Kaylee: "Girls are stronger now then before, so things have changed and that is why they didn't think the bible is right anymore."
Alex: "Kaylee women were strong back then too, but they were not given the freedom to show their strength as women are now. In fact I would challenge your theory and say women back then needed to be even stronger to submit to their husbands and let society tell them they didn't have any rights and still be everything they needed to be for their families."
Kyle: "Yeah but did the guys go in reverse then? Why don't they want to be a man and lead their families and take care of them?"
Alex: "Sadly, it seems that each generation loses a bit of the moral values that the previous generation had instilled in them. What hasn't been passed from generation to generation is finally catching up to the world... Divorce rates have slowed down, but only because the amount of people getting married has lowered. Now we have new marriages that have same sex couples and that is totally outside of what is in the bible, so that throw the roles off too. But I tell you that God had a plan and that plan is clearly written in the bible and that is the plan we want you two to follow. Your Mother and I follow God's plan and we have a very strong and loving marriage and you two haven't turned out so bad either. "
Kyle: "Scott, Alissa and Clare think their parents use spanking in their marriage."
Alex:"Then that should be a subject that they discuss with their parents and not with you all. That is private, between Jay and Lori and if they choose to discuss it with their children that is up to them."
Kaylee: "Um... We think you and Mom have a spanking thing going on too."
Alex:"Spanking thing? Care to expand on that a bit?"
Kyle: "I so DON'T want to know that my parents went 50 Shades Grey."
Me: "You did not just say that!!! How do you know about 50 Shades Of Grey?"
Kaylee: "Mom that book was totally passed around at school, like EVERYONE has read it."
Alex: "I would have thought you would have known that book was not something your parents would have allowed you to purchase, so we wouldn't approve of you reading it either. I do remember you asking me if you could buy it and my answer was not just no, we had a full conversation on why I felt the book was inappropriate for you to read. Do you remember that particular conversation young lady?"
Kaylee: "Um.. Sort of. But Dad I read most of it before I even asked you if I could buy the book. I mean it was literally going around at school but I didn't get to finish and some one else grabbed it from me and I wanted to see how it ends."
Alex:"Well in your case it ends with you being on restriction for two weeks and a very well thought out written apology to me stating the reasons this book is inappropriate for you."
Kyle: "I just want to state for the record that I didn't read the book and I have no desire to read the book either. I have heard things... Guys talk, I mean if girls are gonna want us to get all physical and bossy with them we need to know this junk."
Alex: "Let's get back to the subject at hand, but first let me tell you both that the book is about a couple that are not married and having a sexual relationship so none of your "need to know junk" is going to be found there. So let's get back to your statement Kaylee. Your mother and I have the relationship we let the public see, the relationship that we let you two see and our own private relationship that is for just the two of us. Do we have a spanking thing? We might but that isn't something that is any of your business."
Kaylee: "Yeah but like if you want us to know how your marriage works and pass it down like you said generation to generation wouldn't you sorta like have to tell us? I mean Mom already told me she submits to you and you hold her accountable when she disobeys you."
(How do teens take your words and spin them around on you so well? Kaylee had come to me and told me about watching her friend's mother basically run over her husband and how her friend didn't seem to think anything was unnatural about it. She had asked me why we let Alex be the leader in our house and I had responded that we are a traditional family that way. That was passed down from generation to generation and our families more than likely took it from the bible. She had asked me if I submit to Alex and I of course said yes. Then she hit me with the what does he do if you disobey him if he holds you responsible... I told her that was between her Father and I. Then I went running to Alex telling him Kaylee was on to us!!! Thank goodness I told him, or this would have been a harder conversation. Wow, I now remember even leaving a comment on other blog about this very conversation. Hot topic all of the sudden.) :0)
Alex: "I do hold your Mother accountable when she doesn't follow my lead and your Mother calls me out when I miss as a leader. So I would say we both hold each other accountable for ensuring we are doing the best we can in our roles. Your Mother and I are both still young and healthy so our physical relationship is still very healthy too. Do we choose to include things in our physical relationship that might be considered out of the norm, yes we do. We are two married consenting adults that would never hurt one another and are very safe, so anything we do together in the marriage bed is appropriate and not shameful. The topic of what your Mother and I do or don't do is not something you should be discussing with your cousins or anyone outside of this house. It is frankly no ones business and you should consider yourselves lucky that I even have shared this much of our private relationship with you. Understood?"
We had a chorus of "understoods" and we called it done. Saturday Kalyee and I had a girls day together since it was a holiday and during lunch Kaylee said this:
"Mom, I just want you to know that I want the same kind of marriage you and Dad have. I don't want to fight or get divorced and I really want to have fun with my husband. You and Dad have fun, even sometimes when I am watching you two it's like you guys don't even know I am there... Like you are in a world together all alone even. It was way creepy when I was little but now it just is too cute and I want that.. Like really, really want that. Even if I have to get spanked, I want that soooo bad."
Why do they always wait for food to be involved to tell you something like this? When I was done choking and could produce what passed as normal speech...
"Kaylee honey I am so happy you know what you want and don't want when you get married. Most people don't even have that much figured out when they are walking down the aisle, so this is a great starting point for you. Being only 15 you have plenty of time to keep working on what you want in your marriage and that will help you when you start looking for the man you want to marry. You should even think about journalling your thoughts on what you want in a marriage and what you want in your husband and see how it changes over the next several years."
Kaylee: "Like your memory book you started your senior year with Dad?"
Me: "Well sort of.. I would suggest you keep your scrap book for general topics and a journal that is private just for you. That way if you want to share your scrap book with some one you can and keep your journal for yourself."
Kaylee: "Dad spanked you when you were dating too huh? I know you guys don't like us talking about this with anyone, but Alissa and Clare are pretty sure aunt Lori gets spanked when she is in trouble. Some of your pages have pictures of Dad and I see the look on his face, he has that same face now when you get into trouble. Like I promise to not talk about this anymore with anyone, but can you just tell me if I am right or not pleaaaaaassssssseeeee?"
Me: "Yes, your Father spanked me when we were dating and he continues to this day. If I mess up enough that is his solution for clearing the air and getting us back on track. It is not all about spanking we have other types of ways we use to clear the air and start fresh. This is something we have both agreed upon in our relationship and it is NOT the norm or anything that is discussed in public. I would appreciate you not discussing this with your cousins and if you have any questions you come straight to me and I will do my best to answer them. Agreed?"
Kaylee: "Agreed! Thanks Mom, I totally love that we can talk.. Like really talk talk ya know?"
Me: "Yes, I know. I love that we can talk talk too.. I can't believe how old you have gotten on me, you are turning into a very beautiful and intelligent young woman. I am very proud of you Kaylee.
Alex and I regrouped last night and it sounds like he and Kyle had a very similar talk on Monday as well. So it would seem that we are OUT at home. We are not going to change how we go about things, they will still be very private and out of ear range, but if they have questions we will have LOTS more talking to do now. But that was going to happen in the next few years anyway so we just got our start. We aren't clueless to the fact these cousins are going to talk, they are going to talk this subject and tons of other subjects to death before they are done. But hopefully they will be more careful with their conversations and they will support each other while growing into young adults.
All in all I think we are lucky our kids are so mature and have the support of their cousins, it had to make it easier on them when they heard other parents have the same dynamic. I had worked up several scenarios in my head on how we would tell these kids or when or if they caught us how would we react... None of them went as well as this weekend went and I give most the credit to Alex, he really did a wonderful job handling the conversation with the kids. I sat back and had a silent fit in my head and waited it all out. If I ever get my hands on the kid that brought 50 Shades of Grey to school.... Grrrrrrr.