Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Kid Is DATING?!?

If this isn't happening to you right now, be prepared. It's going to happen and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Your sweet little baby is going to date.

My friend is experiencing this right now. Her son is 13. He has a girlfriend. So now what? Do they force him to tag along on all grocery trips? If she grabs dry cleaning, she fears the girlfriend is going to sneak over for a quick make-out session with her son.

I can imagine my friend paying for her bill at the cleaners, "Here's my fucking card. Hurray! My teenager has the run of the house!"

It may be ironic that while my friend is paying for her clothes at the cleaners, her son's girlfriend could be rushing to grab her shirt off the floor before The Mom returns. Sweet Jesus, this is too much.

This is a whole new set of fears. Wasn't it just last year my friend was worried he'd choke on a Lego? How is he kissing a girl already?

My sister recently experienced this "passing of the torch". Her son, 20, had an accident and was rushed to the hospital. He asked for his girlfriend before anyone else. Ouch.

There was a mild tug-of-war between my sister and the girlfriend over the hospital bed, deciding who was going to give him his juice.

"Here's your juice, baby."
"No, he likes it with ice cubes, I've got it."
"But he told me he didn't want apple juice, so I've got it."
"No really, he's always liked apple juice, since kindegarten..."

But in the end, my sister waved the white flag. It's time. Her son doesn't need his mommy for juice anymore. Plus, his girlfriend is amazing. She's an inspiration to all of us and a great addition to our family.

My sister released him gracefully, realizing that if she gives him space, there will be space for her. If she crowds him, she only crowds herself out. It's a sick truth.

But what about those tender years between 13 and 20? I dated an incredibly religious boy throughout high school and even we carved out that special time when his mom ran out for groceries.

"You're alone? I'll be over in 5 minutes." I raced my '72 Valiant down Highway 61 faster than you can say, "Hormones". I now understand that I wasn't fooling his mother, since every time she returned from an errand, I was standing in her kitchen. Blushing. Sometimes with my shirt buttoned incorrectly.

It wasn't a major deal, condoms weren't being ripped open with our teeth or anything, but there was something cool about having the parents out of the house. We were pretending to be adults and it felt good to be trusted.

Did we make out? Hell yes. Did we do things we shouldn't have? I don't know, maybe.

Let's face it. It's natural to have hormones rushing through your body when you're a teen. It's normal to have your insides burn up and melt when you connect with someone.

And frankly, I know a lot of mothers/wives who would love a "Re-rush" of hormones to kickstart their marriages, but that's another conversation.

So what are we to do? Trust and hope our values and morals trump the fiery hormones blasting through our teenage children?

Or demand they tag along on every errand like a fucking 3 year old? My God, the regression would be painful, wouldn't it? You'd look in the rearview mirror to see your 16 year old son sucking his thumb. Creepy.

My daughters are 9 and 7, so I'm not quite there yet. But I'm guessing that if I don't trust them, they're going to give me good reason not to trust them.

It's the 'ol self-fulfilling label prophecy we learned about in psych 101. If we label someone, they eventually live up to it.

So I'm going to hold my children with an open palm. They'll define themselves, and re-define, and re-define again, throughout their life. That's what life is...evolution.

I'm hoping they never give up their self-worth or dignity while trying new things. Yes, it's important to explore. I just hope they remember the moral compass I installed in their hearts.

You know, the one that says, "KEEP YOUR SHIRT BUTTONED AND YOUR JEANS ON!!!!"

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