We laughed when Jackie made silly disgusted noises as Conrad kissed e on the lips. He told her he did the same as a teenager, when his parents kissed. They still kiss actually. Seeing his parents display such tender affection for one other, though he didn’t express his appreciation then, it made him feel safe knowing his parents love each other.
We dismissed her attitude for a while as normal.
Evelyn came home and when she would witness such a fleeting display of affection between us, she would look up with a huge grin. Sometimes they would both run up to be picked up to have a group hug. Even Rufus circled us in anxiousness to be picked up.
Yesterday Jackie was watching Shrek 2 as I was painting with Ivy. It’s the one where the bad guy wipes everyone memory, and Shrek is trying to kiss Fiona again to break that spell. Finally, I hear the joyous background music of kissing, and I go sit next to Jackie with glee asking: “He is finally kissing her?”
Jackie’s reaction was jumpy and flushed. She jumped up to fast forward through the kiss.
I stopped the movie and asked her what was her reasoning. She said she doesn’t like to see people kissing. Then we had a revealing conversation.
I asked her to distinguish between Mami and Dady kissing, and the Internet, because her parents kissing is safe and discreet and an expression of genuine love. At home we’ve controlled everything she’s seen. And she never watched YouTube. To us, nothing there is worth the assault of other unsavory and unsafe content. She watches a few cartoons on Netflix, with us in the room.
I know she’s seen YouTube and that she stumbled upon things she shouldn’t have seen.
Then I confirmed with her what I think went through her head. I told her I know she might have been disgusted and fascinated all at once. That her curiosity was piquet but she was also afraid. And I told her it’s normal to feel that way. There are bad people who put ugly things online and we need to filter what we let our eyes see. I told her there are many things online I avert my eyes from, and I know they would scar my mind if I consume them. the Bible tells us to protect our eyes and protect our heart.
I told her I believe she acts so disgusted by our kissing because she’s seen more explicit ugly things online. Her body relaxed in my arms and said quietly “maybe”. Then I offered to share with her a prayer to unburden her mind. We asked God to heal her memory and wipe the ugly things from it. And we prayed for the strength to avert our eyes from future assaults. We prayed for freedom and forgiveness and I told her if she is curious about things she can always come and ask me and we’ll find the answers together.
For now, I think we fought the good battle. Of connection. Of reassurance. We are not safe from the internet dangers and assaults… and for that reason, I’m willing to dive into the deep end of uncomfortable situations, of boundaries resetting, of praying fervently, to protect the easily assaulted innocent minds.