Did you ever see the movie "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"? Well, I have a better story than that!  This weekend at my 50th birthday party - my octogenarian mother surprised me with a very unusual gift for a mother to give a daughter. It was a pair of red panties that are about forty four years old. They are quite simple really - silky red with a trim of lace. If I didn't know that they had spent decades in a drawer - I wouldn't have guessed.

Apparently - these  panties had a rich history. According to my  mother - she had given them to my father on his 40th birthday. It was quite provocative in my mother's day to give lingerie in front of guests - especially since the gift implied quite publicly to all of the guests - that my mother would be wearing them for a sexy tryst with my dear old dad! But my mother is nothing if not provocative.

And she did it again - only this time - the very same panties were presented to me -forty four years later on my 50th birthday! And once again - my mother stunned the party goers into silence. It was not the fact that my mother was giving me a sexy, red pantie - it was the fact that it was her red panties! What mother does that? Who does that?

No one knew really what to think....there was a lot of embarrassed laughter and strained jokes flying around the room - but later when I was alone with her card - and the red panties - I was able to understand what my mother was giving me. It was a gift that most women never receive from their mothers. My 84 year old mother was telling me to go for it - and that she supported me in living my life out loud and fully.

She was also telling me that she supported me in being a sexual being - and perhaps just as important - she was telling me that she was once hot and sexy too!  My mother had held onto those red panties for over three decades after my father's death. They represented something so important to her. .

In her card to me - she said that she was passing the Olympic torch to me - red and flaming. And that she wanted me to wear them proudly and with joy. Think about that for a minute. How many mother's give their daughters such a gift. The gift of being Shameless.

Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation
Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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