Yesterday, my 12 year old daughter floored me with a question. And then another. Seriously, I was not prepared.
In order to understand, here is our story on the subject: My husband and I decided we are going to live our lives without hiding everything about D/s from our girls. We are happy and that’s what we want them to see. How we go about sustaining our happiness is important, too, and we feel they need to see respect and teamwork, that’s what matters most. I make decisions for the girls, it would be impossible not to, I’m a parent. He makes decisions, too. There are things my husband and I decide together. We back each other and support one another. This hasn’t changed much. Except, he has the final say in anything he so chooses. He also controls the money.
Last night, he chose and my daughters heard. I was taking my daughter shopping (oh, god, please shoot me – bra shopping with a 12 year old – it’s bad enough for just me) and I suggested a certain store. She didn’t want to go there first and said so. My husband wanted something from said store, so he looked at me and told me to go there first. It was a directive, not a request. It was polite and respectful, but he didn’t ask.
On the way to the car, my daughter tried to convince me we didn’t need to go to that store. I said we did, end of story. I even tried to make it sound fun, like it was a great idea. When we got into the car, she said, “Since when did we start doing exactly what Dad says all the time?” I paused. I was frantically trying to construct the perfect answer. My daughter is smart, people, wicked smart. I better have a damn good answer that makes sense, because this is the precedent. There is no back-pedaling or changing my mind. I have ONE SHOT to get this right. As I was thinking, she reminded me she hadn’t asked a rhetorical question. Oh, god, she is so like me it’s ridiculous. Eery even. I laughed a little, then asked if she wanted the truth. She said, “Not really. Usually the truth means all that touchy-feely stuff and I don’t want to talk about any of that.” I assured her she’d only have to listen. I ignored her sneer, then I told her I was unhappy with myself for a long time, with the choices I made. I didn’t respect Dad’s opinion as much as I should have and tried to control a lot of things I didn’t want to control anymore. Now, when he asks me to do something, I want to do it because I care and I respect him. Do you know what she said??? She said, “I’m in Advance Placement Language Arts, Mom. I’m fairly certain he didn’t ask. He didn’t say, ‘Could you?’, he said, ‘I want you to.’ That was a command.” Holy SHIT!!! Now what the fuck do I say??? After a few deep breaths, I just reiterated the fact that I didn’t give him the respect he deserved in the past and I listen to him now, he knows it and expects it. And, I really want to, it makes me happy. I’ll keep wanting to. Thank The Flying Spaghetti Monster, she let it go. And, we continued on with the most painful shopping experience of my life.
I imagine she’ll be asking more questions at some point. The truth is my best bet, I could never lie to her. She’d know anyway, and what would that do to our relationship? I will tell her what she is capable of understanding, no more, no less. She deserves that. She’ll also always know that my way or our way is one way to do it, it’s not the only way. She’ll have our encouragement and support to make her own choices. Always.
I wonder when #2 will pick up on it? She’s younger, so it may not be something she even notices. It may seem like the norm for her, because she may not recognize the difference as much. She’ll hear the truth, too, if she asks, in an age appropriate way. She’ll get the same love and support for her choices and encouragement to do things her way.
We are not experts, but we are confident in our choices. Love, respect, humor, teamwork, confidence, responsibility – that’s what our girls will see everyday. I’d say that’s a good foundation, any way you cut it.