church · daughter · Lesli · mom · quote · school · sex · single mother · teenager · television

Monkey bars and beyond

In case you missed it, this morning Lesli and I were on television for Good Morning America’s discussion of teens and contraception. I copied the video to share in a separate post. The website for Good Morning America also has a short summary of what the panels – one all moms, one all teenagers – discussed with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Here is a quote from me, as shared on their site.

“It would be like ‘Did you brush your teeth before you left the house?'” mom Ofelia Almedina told “GMA.” “Did you brush your teeth before bed, did you take your pill?”

I realize the editing team had a big job to handle, cutting down three or four hours of footage to three or four minutes, so allow me to clarify. In our house, Lesli decided that her method of birth control will be abstinence. She has seen other teens go through the drama and trauma, after having sex outside of marriage. Add this to the teachings of our church, my daily life as a single mother, the film they saw in school where women went through labor and delivery then held their babies, she decided on her own that abstinence is a very good idea.

To those who have met Lesli, this will be no surprise. To others who have not, I can tell you – she has always wanted to go her own way. When she was about two years old, Lesli wanted to cross the street by herself. I told her “no” and kept a grip on her hand. She was so emphatic about wanting to walk alone, she pulled and yanked her hand out of mine. She scraped herself on the curb. I never had to remind her about being careful while crossing the street after that. To this day if we walk together she reaches for my hand. She not only learned the lesson for that day, it stayed with her for life.

Lesli’s favorite story about when she was younger, would probably be the one where she fell off the monkey bars at school. She had been enjoying the sunny days, running and jumping around at recess, , but her hands were starting to get calluses so I asked her to please stay off the monkey bars. Lesli went on the monkey bars anyway, and fell off. When her father and I both got phone calls from school “she fell off the monkey bars” we rushed to school, found her sitting outside the principal’s office, and asked what was wrong. Lesli sat there quietly. The teacher said “she was complaining of shoulder pain, and we rolled up her sleeve, and saw this.” He and I looked at the teacher, looked at each other, and I forget who said “she had that since birth”. The look that the teacher had taken for “need emergency service” was more like “mom told me to stay off the monkey bars”.

So I guess what I should say here is: I know my daughter. I know she is constantly evolving and changing. As a two-year-old she was strong-willed, as a five-year-old she always wanted to face the obstacle, as a teenager I think the word for her behavior is determined. I ask that God gives me patience, wisdom, strength to handle all that we have beyond the horizon.

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