I remember confession time with my mom. It started on a long family trip when I was in grade 8. I had wanted to tell my mom something about school but I was afraid she would get mad. My dad offered the first admission, when he was in school on a trip he had shit his pants and ended up throwing his underwear. My mom admitted that when she was 4 or 5 she liked to play ‘school’ in the garage and she would make the boy up the street be her student. She liked to smack his ass with a ruler.
After I made my mom swear up and down that she wouldn’t be mad, I finally told her that I had handed in a book report on a book that didn’t exist. That’s right, I wrote a character and plot development on a character and plot that I had made up. And I got an A+. This opened up a huge discussion on things that were going on in the classroom; the teacher would leave for extended periods of time. All the boys in the class handed in the same book report and they each got a different mark.
My mom told me today that she and my father had spoken afterwords about what a wonderful idea it was. They could confess childhood stuff (that would have no consequence) and we (my sister and brother) could confess anything that was going on with us, as long as our parents didn’t get mad.
I confessed the first time I got drunk. I was 14 and I had slept over at my friends house. She opened up a couple of her dad’s beers and we drank them and got tipsy. I remember she went to hang her head out the window to get fresh air and in my drunken brain I thought it would be funny to scare her. I was too rough and ended up shoving her out the door and she cut her foot.
I confessed when I kissed a girl for the first time. I asked her what her reaction was when I told her, and she said the first thought was that she was afraid. Afraid for me, because if I was a lesbian, it would be a hard life, and I already excelled at making my life difficult. Next was a pang of regret that she might never see grandchildren, and finally acceptance. She told me that you have to accept your child for all of who they are or not accept them at all. It would never have mattered to her if I was gay, as long as I was happy.
I confessed to her when I lost my virginity. I told her a week after it happened (New Years, 2000!) She looked unimpressed when I told her. t was probably because I was dating a guy my family referred to as “The Garden Gnome.” He was as short as me, and had a goatee. Obviously I really liked him but no one in family liked him at all. They probably saw the way he had manipulated me. My mom never said anything though, until after we had broken up. I asked her why she had waited and she said it was because I needed to make my own mistakes and learn. My sister on the other hand, made no bones about how she felt. Once, when he came to the door to pick me up, she slammed the door in his face and announced, “the garden gnome is here.”
Needless to say, my mom took me to the doctor so I could go on the pill. She also told me today, in a fit of laughter, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I think I probably felt some small sense of pride!” Oh, mom.
I confessed, much later, that he had hit me and that’s why we had broken up. I told my mom that I had purposely waited to tell her because I knew that if it was fresh, she would have killed him. “I still can’t believe you waited so long to tell me,” she admitted today.
We had been driving home in his car from a restaurant. He was driving and I was in the passenger seat. He was really mad (he got mad a lot, but he never told me why and when he got mad he would ignore me. Being in love with him, I always thought it was my fault and never knew what I did to make him so angry all the time.) We were giving another girl that I worked with a ride home. I had leaned forward to adjust my seatbelt and out of nowhere, he whipped his arm out and close-lined me in the chest, smashing me back into the seat. It hurt and shocked me so much that at first I couldn’t believe it had happened. My chest felt tight and bruised. Finally, my rage set it.
“What the fuck!?” I roared.
“What?” He asked, like he had done nothing wrong.
“You just fucking hit me!”
“I didn’t hit you, I moved you, you were leaning down and I needed to see the mirror.” Like it was nothing.
“You could have asked and I would have moved, but I can’t believe you just fucking hit me!”
The girl in the back seat was quiet, but would later go on to take his side. I think it’s because they started fucking shortly after we broke up. For all I know they were fucking while we were together.
I confessed a lot to my mom when I was a teenager. My mom told me that most teenagers give their parents the silent treatment when they’re teenagers, but she always had an open line of communication. I told her when I got high, when I got drunk, the drama that was happening in my life. No matter what I told her though, the stipulation was that she wasn’t allowed to get mad. It happened once though. I confessed something to her, and her first reaction was anger.
I remember thinking that I would never tell her anything again. She had broken the one rule of confession time. She reigned it in, though, and apologized, because she knew too, that if she ever wanted me to open up to her again, she had to remember not to react with anger.
Talking with her today, she remembers that moment too, though neither of us can remember what it was that made her so angry.
She also told me that sometimes it was really hard not to react with anger, but that if she could look past it, this was a moment she could help guide us through. Keeping an open line of communication was always important to my mom, because we could always go to her, with any of our problems. She always knew what we were up to, so she didn’t really need to worry. It’s probably another reason why I’m a notoriously bad liar. I never had to lie to my mom because I would just tell her anyway. The one time I tried to lie she called me on it immediately. My face is an open book, she can see a lie on my face over the phone.
Once, I got caught skipping class. My friends and I went to get high and I wanted to come back for history class because I had a raging boner for my teacher. I got called to the principles office. I don’t know if I was actually moving, but I felt like my whole torso was moving in small, tight circles. The principle blathered on about skipping class and how our actions have consequences and I just tuned it out because I was so busy focusing on acting like I wasn’t high.
“Alright?” He asked.
I had no idea what I was agreeing to but I nodded my head. The next thing I know, he’s dialing my mom. He spoke to her at length and then suddenly hands the phone to me.
“Hello?” I asked tentatively.
“You forged my signature so you could cut class. You’re high right now, aren’t you?”
“You know you’re an idiot right?”
“You and your stupid friends stood in front of the office window and came up with this brilliant plan to cut class. You know you were busted before you even left the school, right?”
“I guess I’m supposed to be giving you shit now, right? Make it seem like I’m really mad?”
From the principle’s perspective it probably sounded like my mom was really reaming me out. Oh man, those were the days.
I like the idea of confession time, and I plan to use it with my kids as they get older. I want to keep an open line of communication with them, especially when they become teenagers. Being a teenager, especially in this day and age is even harder than it was when my husband and I were teens. I think there’s a big difference in busting a kid doing something bad (because then you have to discipline them) as opposed to them telling you about what they’re up to. Sure it might make you upset, but if you can get past that, at least they’ll feel like they have someone to talk to during one of the most tumultuous times in their life.