My wife Lilly died when my son Phillip was two years old. It was a tragic accident that will always haunt me. Lilly and I were in Florida and she wanted to go with a bunch of her friends to Fort Lauderdale. Her friend Jenna had a beautiful boat and they were going to spend a couple of hours on the water. A professional athlete who was hopped up on booze and drugs drove his boat filled with his partying buddies into Jenna’s boat. He was driving at a crazy speed and the collision caused a massive explosion. My wife, Jenna and two other women were killed on impact. The athlete survived for a couple of hours before he died.
I was angry and sick when he was glorified by his adoring fans. It wasn’t till his autopsy was released and one of the guys on the party boat came forward to share what happened that the discussion turned to the dangers of substance abuse. The survivor said the athlete had been talking about checking into rehab that week, but he had never made it. My wife paid the price.
Phillip was raised with a ton of love from his Grandparents on both sides and his Aunts and Uncles. I made sure to always tell him stories about Lilly and he grew into a fine and outstanding person. Our bond couldn’t have been closer.
It was amazing to watch him grow, he had a maturity about him that was off the charts. Without humble bragging he was also very well built and an attractive guy who had a wonderful sense of humour and personality. His athletic skills were off the chart and this led him to being named starting quarterback on his High School football team.
Phillip had met Cassie Spring when he started High School. She was a cute, smart girl and they became friends and graduated to boyfriend and girlfriend a few months later. They always wanted to spend time together and I was thrilled. She became a cheerleader and was determined to be one of the top students in the school so she could go to a University of her choosing and follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian. Every time I met her I really liked her. She was a quality person and I knew Lilly would’ve loved her. My son had very good taste.
I was working on a report about a new cryptocurrency for my Hedge fund when Phillip walked into my office. He sat down on a comfortable easy chair beside the fireplace. ‘’Uh, Dad, I need to talk to you about something important.’’ I was flattered, we discussed everything and it made me feel great that we had that type of relationship. There was nothing we couldn’t discuss, it was something that I had drilled into him since his early years.
I wanted him to know he had my full attention, so I pushed the lid of my laptop down. ‘’Dad, I’ve been thinking about applying to the University of Miami, Georgia, or Alabama when it comes time to putting in applications for school. The problem is I don’t think I’ll be offered a scholarship the same way I would if I went to a place like Central Florida.’’ I nodded. ‘’You have to go where you’ll be happy. If you don’t get a scholarship it won’t be the end of the world, we’ll work it out. I’m behind you a hundred percent. Wherever you want to go works for me. Besides you still have time to make the right decision.’’
Phillip looked at me and I could tell right away, he wanted to discuss something but it wasn’t about where he was going to go post-High School. I knew my son and seconds later he spilled the beans.
‘’Cassie and I have been together for the last couple of years and I really love her. We have never had sex but we both want to and I am kind of scared and nervous. Eddie Gilbert on the Football team talks all the time about how he and Marla Shansky get it on, but I am kind of worried about doing things right.’’
My first thought was my son was a man. ‘’Firstly, I don’t know Eddie Gilbert but he’s an idiot. You never discuss your love life with anyone. Secondly, making love is a serious situation. You are being intimate and that can lead to a lot of things. The feeling is beyond words but you have to think about the other person. You have to find out if she really feels the same way you do. Phillip the most important thing in the world is understanding that No means No. If a woman changes her mind and you are both completely naked, you listen to her and respect her decision. You stop and if you have to run and take a cold shower you do it, but you never make love unless it is one hundred percent consensual. ‘’ Phillip twiddled his thumbs, a habit he had forever when he was thinking and nervous.
‘’Dad you’re missing the point, Cassie and I want to be intimate, we want to have sex.’’ I looked at my son and I was really proud we were having this conversation, it wasn’t easy but we needed to have it. ‘’Okay, so you know about protection right? You don’t make love without wearing a condom. The action can be so intense that you think you need to be intimate immediately or neither of you can wait, but you can. Always put on protection. I can’t stress this enough, it is essential to wear protection. I don’t think you want to ruin Cassie’s life. Not wearing protection can lead to one of two things, passing on a sexually transmitted disease or causing pregnancy. I don’t think you have to worry about number one, but number two can ruin a person’s life. Let me explain. You and Cassie make love and she gets pregnant. It’s not you who is carrying the baby, it’s her. She has to decide what to do. Does she want to have a baby at such a young age or does she go for an abortion, or does she give the baby up for adoption? Think about the consequences of all those actions. If she keeps the baby she will be responsible for raising him or her while trying to live her life the best way she can. She might let you get involved in parenting but how does that impact on your life. What if you grow apart, you will still always be together for the child, but if the love is gone then what? How would you feel seeing Cassie raising your child with a different father? If you meet another woman and fall madly in love and tell her you’ve got a child is she going to rethink your relationship. All I’m trying to tell you is that for the pleasure you get you have to think about the long-term consequences if things go wrong. I like Cassie and I think you’re a great couple, but once you cross that line from being close to being intimate there are other things to think about. If you and Cassie begin having sex on a regular basis are you going to be able to differentiate between wanting to be with her because you care about her or will it become satisfying your sex drive and using her? Trust me, it can happen. Finally, what happens after being intimate if you break up. Are you going to be able to look at women the same way or will you be looking to find a woman to satisfy your sexual needs. Phil, if you notice I’m calling them women not girls, because as soon as sex is introduced into the equation you and they are no longer kids, that’s how big a deal it is. Finally, if you and Cassie do decide to make love, do it in a classy and appropriate place. Don’t do it in some kind of sketchy inappropriate location. You should always remember your first time and those who talk about doing it in places like the back of a car are just romanticizing an uncomfortable situation to make it sound better. Be a gentleman and be class. That’s it, that’s all I can tell you. If you are determined to have sex, then grab a banana, go to your room and practice putting a condom on it, so when the time comes, you will be proficient and won’t make any mistakes. I love and trust you son and know you are going to make the right decision and act in the right way. Do you have any questions?’’
Phil stood up ‘’Whoosh, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I mean I know my playbook for the football team by heart but trying to digest what you just said is going to take some time. Uh, Dad when did you first make love?’’
I had to be honest ‘’I was nineteen and I was with a fantastic woman. We had dated for a while and when we made love it was spectacular. After that I followed all the rules I just gave you. I was always respectful and I was very cautious about who I was intimate with. When I met your Mom my life changed. She was the only woman I ever wanted to be with and I miss her more today than ever. When you were born it was the happiest day of our lives. Your Mom and I had eternal love and when you were conceived we had talked and prayed about having a little boy. You’re a special guy Phillip and I know you will make the right decision.’’
Phillip came over and gave me a strong hug, whispered ‘’Thanks for everything Dad’’ and left the room. I sat back down to work on my report.
Ten minutes later Phillip was on the phone. ‘’Hi Cassie, are your parents still going away on Saturday Night? Fantastic, I talked to my Dad, great news. Yeah, I’ll be staying over.’’