Excerpt: Valerie Bertinelli's 'Finding It'

Very late that night, I woke up in a panic, wondering where Wolfie and Liv were sleeping. They had not given me a single reason to suspect they weren't in the places I had assigned them earlier in the day, but my mind was full of scenarios that filled me with concern. It was because I had been a teenager once, and I knew what I had done at that same age. Actually, I'd been younger. Was that beside the point? Or was it the point? I had no idea. Nor did it matter. I got out of bed and crept through the house like a guard on the show Lockup. As I tiptoed back into the bedroom and quietly slipped back under the covers, Tom rolled over.

"And?" he asked.

"Everyone's where they're supposed to be," I said.

"Except for you."

"Touché," I replied.

I shut my eyes and tried to go back to sleep while realizing something that many parents before me had discovered: I was the one with sex on the brain, not Wolfie or Liv. I knew that would change if they stayed together, but for now this was more my issue than theirs. I supposed it was part of being a parent. I had the wisdom and experience to know what lay ahead, and to prepare for it. Was I prepared? I didn't know; I'd have to see when I got there, wherever that would be.

There was a more important question: Was Wolfie prepared? Had I done my job as a parent?

I thought about two things: The talks I hadn't had with him about sex and love and maturity, and the discussions I should have had with him about relationships, the highs, lows, joys, difficulties, and potential of heartbreak. We had spent hours discussing favorite movies such as Galaxy Quest and Lord of the Rings. We had also talked endlessly about the video game Legend of Zelda. We had discussed school, music, favorite bands, clothes, acne, friends -- all the stuff that happened. I had at times even solicited his opinion on stuff I had seen in the Pottery Barn catalog? How had I managed to not talk to him about girls, sex, and love? What was wrong with me? I felt like a bad mother. I worried that I had failed both of us.

I still felt that way in the morning. As I made myself coffee, I thought about handling those feelings in the way I had done so many times in the past: by opening the fridge and eating my way into numbness. I didn't do it. I knew it wasn't a healthy or productive way to handle a problem. I had learned that I was an emotional eater, and as such, I had come to recognize my desire to eat during times of upset or stress for what it was—an emotional response to a feeling that is starved for action or discussion, not a desire for a slice of leftover pizza at 9:30 in the morning.

I heard Tom stirring and took him a cup of coffee. I asked if he wanted to go for a walk, explaining that I needed to work off something that was bothering me.

"What's up?" he asked.

"I haven't had the sex talk," I said.

He put his hands on my shoulders, pulled me close and said, "Baby, we don't have to talk about it."

I pushed him away.

"Not you, silly," I said. "I haven't talked to Wolfie about sex."

"Doesn't he know where babies come from?"

"I'm sure he does. It's how they're made that I'm not sure he understands completely."

"Or how to keep them from being made."

"Thank you."

"I'm sure he knows that part, too."

"But I'm not sure," I said.

"It's a little late, don't you think?" Tom said. "Besides, he's probably seen everything and then some in the movies or on the Internet."

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