We’ve been living on pins and needles ever since our legislature here in Kansas passed a law prohibiting virtually all sexual activity by people under the age of sixteen. Sexual activity includes “lewd fondling or touching” done with “the intent to arouse.” The law includes a mandate for educators and health care professionals to report any suspected violations.
Our son Kevin is fifteen, and of course we trust him, but he is, after all, bigger than I am, starts at guard on the football team, and has his learner’s permit. So Patty attempts to provide gentle guidance for Kevin. I got home today just as she was feeding him an after-school snack.
“How was your day?” Patty asked him.
“Fine,” mumbled Kevin, his mouth full of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I knew it!” screeched my wife. “You held her hand, didn’t you!”
Kevin gulped and looked guilty. “It was just for a couple of blocks, Mom,” he pleaded. “We let go when we got close to the school. I swear, nobody saw us.”
“Kevin,” said my wife, “don’t you know the risk you’re taking here? You’re putting the whole family in jeopardy. Next thing you know, you’ll be kissing her.”
Kevin turned beet red.
“You didn’t!” she shrieked.
Kevin hung his head. “Once,” he admitted.
“Tell me you both kept your lips closed,” begged my wife. “Tell me you didn’t open your lips, Kevin.”
“Mom, it’s okay,” he protested. “I kept mine pressed really hard together. She opened hers just a little bit, but I didn’t do anything. Honest I didn’t.”
“Your hands, Kevin, where were your hands!”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Mom, you know they were firmly on her waist, where they belonged.”
“You didn’t—you know—move them around?”
“Mom, I already told you, they were on her waist. They may have slid around a little when my palms started to sweat, but they didn’t move at all as long as they were under my control.”
“Remember what I told you, Kevin,” she said. “Just hook your hands on her belt. Think of it as a safety belt. You didn’t do anything else you haven’t told us about, did you?”
“Of course not,” he said indignantly. “What do you think I am, Mom?”
“We’ve tried so hard to raise you as a normal, healthy boy,” said my wife. “We worry about you. Kids get to experimenting with holding hands, and before you know it, it leads to kisses and hugs. You think you’ll just try it once, and then you’re hooked. It’s addictive, Kevin. And it’s not just a prank, it’s a crime.”
“Mom, will you quit worrying?” said Kevin. “I’ve got to go. I promised the army recruiter I’d meet him before practice.”
© Tony Russell, 2006