Their ignorance of the opposite sex is bliss.
I remember the first time I had to make a decision about how our family would respond to the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. My boy was in 3rd grade. He and his buddy were in the back seat talking about a girl. Of course, I had to ask….
Me: Who is she?
8 year old boy (not my kid): My girlfriend.
Me: You can’t have a girlfriend.
Boy: Yes I can.
Me: Did you get a job?
Me: Do you have a car? Can you drive?
Me: You don’t have a girlfriend. You like a girl, period. No more dumb girl talk.
Like a boss. I shut that 8 year old down. That’s when I began making up dating rules haphazardly. This conversation sparked a fear that had been hiding inside of me. I suddenly had the urge to fiercely guard and protect the hearts of my two children. So our strict “no dating” policy began. It was so easy abiding by a set of arbitrary dating rules when they were in elementary school.
“No dating until you have a job and a car. I have no desire to chauffeur or feed additional children.”
I don’t want my children to feel the heartache that I did. I don’t want them to be forever changed because of a like or dislike or unlike from someone that will have no presence in their life by 20 and beyond. I don’t want them to waste tears. I don’t want any more drama in my home.
My desire is that they are strong and independent. Funny and witty. Lovely and loveable….in a decade.
They are on the edge of teen and I have lost my cool. Their toes are on the edge of growing up and I am taking a strong stance, ready to fight. They are in the tween trenches where things get fierce and exciting and I am terrified. They have looked at the opposite sex and turned away from the disdain we’ve held so tightly to in the past. I am sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth with no “cool” in sight.
“I like her and she likes me” It all started out pretty nonchalant. It wasn’t a big deal…..and then I died a little on the inside. Let’s be honest. No parent wants to hear these dreaded words. This is the beginning of the end. Well, that may be dramatic, but you know what I mean.
Parents of already teens, I know you’re laughing and think I am making a big deal of it. And I am. I certainly am. This is the moment in life when I am no longer the love of their life. I am no longer the go-to, awesome, super chill mom. This is the moment I completely lost. my. chill.
The chill is gone. I cannot find it or fake it. I don’t know how to treat/act/like/respond to this new person in our life.
This person has joined us at church, attended a school performance, and exchanged Christmas presents. There have also been text messages and time together at school. Most recently, my child (who used to love me) decided to stay at a school function and ride the bus instead of being picked up early for a hooky day with mom.
It is inevitable that the dread “V” day will also warrant some sort of exchange that symbolizes a significance in my child’s life. A first. Do we buy flowers? (Please God no). What about candy? (I might can stomach that). Maybe just a card? (Doubt it.) Since we set precedence with the Christmas gift, I am assuming something has to be purchased for this person.
There’s no going back now. Unless there is a break up between now and that dreaded day, we are on this side of boyfriend/girlfriend territory where gifts and time have to be shared with someone not birthed by me. And I don’t know if I can be cool about it. I’m certain that I’m going to be completely not cool…and I don’t know what to do with my face or hands when this person is around.
Please don’t be his valentine….
Love, his mom.