"Hey Mom, can I ask you something?" Alison asked me.
We were at the Kroger gas station. I was filling up. I'd waited until the weather warmed to refuel and was periously close to Empty. Plus, I had to go to Kroger to prepare for Book Club tomorrow. I might have time tomorrow to shop, but no sense in risking it. So we headed to shop right after school.
"I heard a word the other day that I'm not sure is reallly a word but well. I think it might be bad," she said.
"What was it?"
"Can I spell it?" asked my little Junior Honor Society member.
"Sure. But wait. Where did you hear it?"
"I watching Family Guy on my iPad and Quagmire was making a sign and (some character whose name I forget) came by and said, 'I think the word country has an 'o' in it."
The gas pump clicked.
"Hold that thought," I said, jumping out to finish the transaction. "Damn! I thought. She's only 12.75. Do I really have to explain this one?"
Various thought ran thorugh my head as I twisted the cap. I sighed and got back in the car. She sat there, eyes huge.
"Well, Ali, that word is just about the worst word you can ever say about a woman?"
Her eyes got bigger. She asked why. What did it mean?
Sorry, Amer. I spilled.
"Well, it really 'vagina' but it means it in a derogatory way. And that's partly why it's such a horrible word. If someone calls a woman that word, they mean to insult her. To say she's mean, nasty and horrible. And if 'vagina' could mean those things, you're not just saying the woman is bad but that 'vagina' is a bad thing. So, it's just about the worst thing you can call a girl," I said. I might have said 'vagina' 25 more times in the time it took me to get from the Kroger gas pumps to the Kroger parking lot. I don't remember. It was kind of a blurry drive.
As I'd given my lecture, I was careful to watch for traffic, pot holes and rabid squirrels that might cross my path. I looked everywhere, quite earnestly, except her face. I parked. I took a breath and I looked over at her.
She was sitting there just staring at me with her eyes wide and her mouth open.
"Is it worse than calling a woman 'fat'," she asked.
I looked at her. "You know, honey. I don't know."
And then I hit the grocery store.
I love it that she will ask me anything. Even if she has to whisper or spell some of it. And I love it that she knows how hurtful it can be to be teased about your weight. I'd like to think she'll never be mean to other kids and call them hurtful names. But she's almost a teenager and she's already had some isses with mean girls -- and one rat bastard of a boy -- at school.
This weekend, we'd gone to the mall and I convinced her to go into Victoria's Secrets. She needed a few thing. "I prefer to buy my underwear at Target," she said, initially. "If anyone I know sees me in this store I will just die."
She came around quickly and even carried her little bag outside the store, although she did have a bit of a moment when she accidentally picked up a thong. She shrieked a little and flung it like David defending himself against Goliath. Other than that, we had a great time.
She's growing up so fast. It's killing me.
But I'm pretty sure she's too young for Family Guy. I wonder how long she'll be made at me for blocking Family Guy from her iPad.