Walking together into the restaurant, one boy to my right,another to my left, and my wildcard of a middle child four steps behind, not watching where he's going. But I'm watching where I'm going, because I'm their Mama. And there in front of us, perched on a bench, was an exquisitely beautiful young woman. Though I never saw her face straight on, her pose and clothes and the brown of her one shoulder, laid bare by an exaggerated slopping neckline, sang out to passersby, like the siren's song. I was captivated, one woman to the allure of another, fascinated by her model-esque frame, oversized glasses and the confidence of her laughter as she talked on the phone. The whole picture drew me in and and I literally thought the words, "that's sexy."
Before the thought was complete I caught sight of my oldest, 10 and innocent, but growing into his masculine frame more each day. He was looking at her as he walked close to my side. His head was cocked slightly, as though trying to understand a strange new piece of art, full of colors he'd never seen before. It was then he saw me watching him, and blushed. And the beautiful moment that happened next must have been Holy Spirit induced, because it was much too beautiful to come from me.
I nodded and smiled, and pulled him to my side as we walked through the doors, and into the restaurant.
And in that moment I learned grace and not judgement, as I affirmed him as a man, and tucked away a mental note to talk with him in the days and years to come. To talk with each of my sons about beautiful women and their true worth, and purity of heart and purity of body, and respect.
I thought about these things again this morning as I wrapped a thin silver chain around my neck and found it's clasp. Deciding to wear only a simple cross to adorn my bathing suit and cover up was intentional. Like so many choices these days. Raising three boys in a world we don't feel at home in. Wanting to make decisions that point them to God, holiness, righteousness and truth, in this everything goes, post-Christian world.
Now here we were, piling into the car to drive up the coast. Up the coast to watch the VANS US Open - Surf Competition. And I knew as I put on my simple make-up and pulled my hair back into a pony tail, that girls wearing skin and boys smoking pot, and couples making out under the bleachers would likely catch my boys' eyes.
And I prayed, "Lord, you've got a plan for these three lives, and I'm trusting you to protect their senses and their minds today. But if they are afflicted and affected, moved and excited by the the sights and sounds, please give me grace to put my arm around them, squeeze them close and nod my affirmation. "Yes, I see it all too. I'm here with you. And we can talk about it all together. Because I'm safe."
So before we tumbled out of the car with two boogie boards, a surf board, four towels and a bottle of sun screen, I turned around in my seat and said,
"Hey guys, I want to give you a heads up about something today." Insert five minutes, waiting for all three boys to give me their attention at the same time! "We don't usually go to this beach," I continued. "We usually go where it's just moms and dads, kids and grandmas. But this beach is going to be full of young adults, and most of those young adults are going to be teenaged girls. Because girls like boys and lots of these surfers are really cool boys.
But I want you to know something really important - often times girls think they need to look really sexy for a boy to notice her, so they wear itty-bitty bathing suits with their little butts hanging out the bottom, just trying to get attention." At least two of my boys had looks of disgust on their faces, over the butt imagery. But I continued talking for the benefit of the one who didn't look nauseous."
"Anyway, I just want you to know something that these girls might not know... Their beauty, and my beauty and the beauty of the girl you will one day marry, is so much deeper than the skin you'll see parading around you today."
Then it was over.
Looking back I still feel like I could have wrapped it up better. But I'm thinking tonight, now that they are all showered and fed and tucked into bed, that my car speech was just the beginning of a conversation. Talking with our sons about sex, bikinis and a woman's true beauty, has to start somewhere. Truth be told, we didn't even get to the sex talk. But it was the opening chapter of a rich book, one they'll want to pick up and read further. And I will be there, safe and affirming, ready to go deeper when the time comes.
But today I needn't have worried. Because in the end, today my oldest collected sea shells, and my youngest built a sand castle, and my wildcard of a middle child wasn't watching where he was going... but I was, cause I'm their Mama.