She takes a deep drag on her Old Gold cigarette, slowly blows the blue-ish smoke out through her nose, clears her throat, pauses, says, “You’re ten now, I think it’s time for us to have a talk about the birds and the bees.”

Speechless, I stop playing with Barbie and look up at my mother.

Tying her terry bathrobe tighter, she waits for a response. Nothing. Finally, “How much do you know about how babies are made?”

Throat now dry but a moist upper lip, I puff myself up, “I know everything.”

“So you know that when a man puts his private part into a woman’s private parts, it usually feels good and sometimes that makes a baby?”

Gaping mouth, saucer eyes, frantic fidgeting fingers, I gasp, “Ewwwwwh!

Ichhhhh! You’re lying! I don’t believe you. That’s dis-gusting. I would never do anything like that.”

We stare at each other in silence.

She takes another drag. Fiddles with her foam hair rollers.

Puffed up again, hands on hips, leaning toward her, “I know that the minute the wedding ring is put on your finger, you can have a baby any time you want.” With an adult sounding ‘Hmmmph’, I turn on my toes and stalk away.

Mother, with a knowing shake of her head and a smile breaking at the corners of her mouth, whispers at my receding back, “I’m telling you the truth and someday you’ll understand. And you’ll love it.”

She was, of course, right.

4 thoughts on “The Birds and the Bees Talk by Leslie Sittner

  1. Thank you MaryKate. I remember this like it was yesterday—and Mom had such a down-to-earth sense of life—and humor.

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