The other day at our local coffee shop, I overheard some teenage girls talking about their lives. It started off with the ever amusing complaints about their "lame" mothers who try to rule their lives. Their voices carried and filled the whole back of the shop. There was no avoiding their often humorous diatribes. The girls were funny as they spoke of mothers who hover, control, and eavesdrop. One of them kept speaking of her mother's obsession with whether or not the bedrooms in the house are clean. Can you imagine such a thing? They whined about how the one thing their lives miss is privacy. Why can't their parents just see that these high school seniors are all grown up and don't need their parents in their business?
My friend and I smiled at each other over our foamy lattes and shared that look that says we've been there, and those independent women at the next table aren't really as grown up as they imagine themselves to be.
Inevitably their discussion turned to boys and dating. My friend wiggled her eyebrows in anticipation of the "juicy stuff." I grinned back at her. They were too cute, these young girls playing at adulthood.
Then suddenly they were no longer cute.
They sat in the coffee shop frankly and loudly discussing their recent hook-ups. (Yes, that means sex if you're old enough to wonder.) They spoke bluntly about getting laid and moving on. Their playful banter of a few moments before became harsh, bitter and a little shrill. They were unspeakably sad and seemed not to know it. We could hear in their voices the tremble of emotion and watched the heart broken moments when faces were turned away so that they could regain their composure.
I wanted to hug them all. The mother in me just wanted to wrap them up in my arms and hug them.
They just seemed so confused by the adult things with which they were playing. They have been taught from Jr High on that sex was not a big thing. I know because they were the messages my generation heard the beginnings of. Things like we didn't have to be married, just in love and that sex was for pleasure with no mention of the emotional whirlwind which follows in its wake. They were clueless about the enormity of their actions. These poor confused girls don't know the the truth of it, because no one has ever told it to them.
So I did.
I set down my cup and walked over to their table. "Hi," I said. "I couldn't help but overhear what you were saying. You were kinda loud."
They all looked a bit embarrassed and apologized.
"Can I just ask you something? Can you maybe explain it to me?" There was a chorus of "Yes, ma'am"s. This is Texas. "You have a mother who loves you. Who puts a roof over your head and takes care of you. Right?" Nods. "But you won't let her into your bedroom. A room she owns in a house she pays for? Your own mother? But you'll let some boy from the football team inside of your body? You will actually let him inside of you? How does that make sense?" I stood there for a moment and waited for an answer. All I got were their stunned looks. No one said a word. The color just drained from their faces.
I walked back to my friend who was ready to go. "Do you think they heard me?" I asked her. "Do you think they get how messed up that really is?"
"I don't know, but I'll guarantee you that no one ever put it to them that way before."
Maybe it's time we start.