Jeannette decided to follow Julian’s lead and do a girls day out with Janessa. However, hers was more spur of the moment and could have used a bit of planning. The night before, she was having dinner with her daughters, and Janessa was just yakking away to Juliette about the boys at school.
“…and then, Kenny said, ‘I like your hair.'”
“HA! Kenny is so lame,” Juliette said.
“I know, right? So then Ron came up, and he was like ‘why are you talking to her?’ And Kenny said, ‘cuz she’s the most beautiful girl in school!’ Then Ron got in Kenny’s face and told him he didn’t want to see him talking to me anymore.”
“Seriously? You and Ron don’t even go together! What did you do,” Juliette asked.
“I felt sorry for Kenny, so I kissed him.”
“Ugh! You’re pathetic,” Juliette joked. “Tell her she’s pathetic, mommy.”
“Juliette, these sausage and peppers are very good,” Jeannette said trying to get out of that conversation.
“Thank you! I learned from the best…my grandmas…to be clear, heh.”
Jeannette gave her a totally fake smile. “Ha ha ha. Everyone knows I’m not a cook. You don’t have to keep throwing it in my face!”
“Ok… But, I just wanted to be sure you didn’t–“
“I get it, Juliette!”
Juliette really got on Jeannette’s nerves at times. She knew she only messed with her because Juliette knew she could evoke a response from her. “Janessa…do you have any tests tomorrow?”
“Take a vacation day. We’re gonna spend some time together.”
“Mommy,” Juliette shouted and slammed her book closed. “How come she gets to miss school?”
“Because we need to spend some time together. Your day will come…don’t worry.”
“Grrr! She does everything before me,” she yelled and stormed off to their room.
Janessa was active and enjoyed physical fitness, so Jeannette thought she’d take her to the spa for a bit of pampering.
When they were done with their treatments, they sat on the edge of the pool and relaxed.
“Thank you for doing this for me, mommy. I had a nice time.”
“Well…I figured with all the running you do, and school, and your active social life, you could probably use a little break.”
“Is that really why you brought me here though?”
Jeannette smiled at her clever girl. “Of course not.”
“I just wanted to talk to you.”
Jeannette had no idea where to begin. “Well, you, ummm…I noticed that…”
She sighed and conceded to the question she really wanted to ask. “Why do you have so many boyfriends?”
Janessa laughed. “They’re not my boyfriends.”
Oh boy. “Then who are they?”
“Just guys who like me.”
“And you encourage this by kissing them.”
“I just want them to be happy.”
“…so you kiss them?”
Jeannette was intrigued by her genuine response and had to go deeper. “Why does it matter to you that they are happy?”
“I like for everyone to be happy, mommy. I don’t like to see people upset.”
Jeannette laughed. “Yet you share a room with Juliette.”
“Well, I can’t help everyone, but I try. I really do!”
“I know you do, honey. I just…you concern me, Jan. I understand that you want to make everyone happy, but can’t you make them happy in other ways?”
“Sure, mommy, but I don’t think you’d approve,” she said and winked.
“You got that right! That’s not what I meant though. Why kissing? Does it not have meaning to you?”
“Love is powerful, mommy! And it’s beautiful, and I want to share it with as many as I can.”
“Because…” Jeannette didn’t really know. That’s just the way the world went, and no one ever questioned it. No one except Janessa. “I’m just concerned about how this all ends for you. You start out going around kissing everyone…what are you going to do when you get older? Woo hoo with everyone? What if you get pregnant? Are you going to keep having children by random guys all in the name of trying to keep the world happy? When does it stop? Who makes you happy? If you keep spreading yourself around, eventually there won’t be any of you left to give to someone who really deserves you. Don’t you see? I want for you to have a healthy relationship with someone who cares about you and makes you happy. I want it to be like, when you kiss him, it will be so magical, you’ll never want to kiss anyone else ever again.”
Janessa thought about it. On one hand, she wanted what her mother spoke of, but on the other hand, she couldn’t resist spreading sunshine and happiness upon whoever needed it. “That sounds really nice, mommy, and maybe that would be great for Juliette, but it’s not what I want.”
Jeannette was both proud and disappointed at the same time. She was proud that Janessa had developed such strong beliefs at such a young age, but she was disappointed that the vision she had for her life may not come to life. She had to find out more. “Please explain.”
“Love is like the sun. It’s bright, powerful, and makes people happy. It illuminates the darkness, but there is only one sun. At night, there is a moon and many stars, but they can’t light up the sky the way the sun can. Without the sun, people get depressed and do terrible things. People are dangerous and unstable at night and do horrible things in the shade of darkness. We need love to be happy and get along with each other. I couldn’t live with myself if I only had one person to share love with.”
Jeannette was impressed. Her child had a different belief system from her, but she presented it so well and with such conviction and passion. She knew there was nothing and no one who could shake her, and she and her husband were just going to have to learn to live with her decisions.