When I was a teenager, I had a ‘few’ boyfriends – they were all very sweet, kind, exciting, fun and looking back, I can see how they helped to shape my life. But one thing I do remember the most – they were all friends first. They were all boys I knew had a good heart, who made me laugh, who taught me things about myself…boys who all turned into amazing men and I enjoy keeping in touch with them today.
I ‘think’ most of them went through the ritual of coming to my house (we lived in the country so of course they had to drive out to pick me up for dates) and meeting my parents (well, let’s be honest…most of them knew my parents from church) and asking if they could date me. Looking back, I have to smile at the memory. Did they really all do that? I remember some…one who told my mother he loved me first (yes, you read that right…) and I even remember one asking my dad if he could date me and my dad just laughed.
My oldest now has a boyfriend. Will he be one of many of will this be one of those ‘high school sweetheart’ romances? At this point, it doesn’t really matter. He waited to ask her out ‘officially’ on her birthday (cue the ‘awww’) and then even did the polite thing and came over to the house before they went on their first date.
(Picture me taking a deep breath here).
Let me paint the scene for you. I’m in my office writing when my daughter walks in the door and holds it open for her boyfriend to follow her. They both stand in the doorway, a bit awkward until I say hello and tell them to come in. Said boy is trying to take his shoes off while our two dogs are sniffing and licking and barking at him. He finally plops down on the ground to gain access to his shoes when my husband opens the door, shoving him off to the side (opps, maybe sitting on the ground, in front of a door wasn’t the best place to sit). They head to the living room where they both sit on opposite couches and my husband stands at the bottom of our stairs. He has this grin on his face, one that should make any boy nervous and says “you arrived before I could get my gun out and show you how I clean it”.
(this is my cue to turn around and laugh silently knowing he’s been waiting 16 years to say that!)
While my daughter’s face goes red and the boy’s eyes kind of bug out, I step in to lighten the conversation (as a good mom would do). I ask him questions about school and what he likes to do and what their plans were today and then my husband does that ‘fatherly thing’ again.
“What are your intentions towards my daughter?”
Now, if you are a parent – whether your kids are young or old, I’m sure you can smile as you picture this moment but I’ve got to say, kudos to the boy for stepping up and saying “I just want to treat her right.”
(cue the ‘awww’ part again.)
Do you remember your first date? What did you do? Where did you go? Was there any thing that happened to make it memorable? I remember mine. I remember every detail and it makes me smile (the first official date where the boy actually showed up and took me out, treating me ‘right’. Not the one where I was stood up and left bawling my eyes out while my mom tried to sooth my broken heart.)
Life is all about making memories and learning how to use those memories to help shape our lives – the good, the bad and even the ugly. I want to teach my girls to use these memories to their benefit – to learn and grow and not become bitter or unwilling victims to things they can’t change. My daughter’s first date was a nice one, they headed to a local coffee shop, walking hand in hand along the way and then called me to pick them up and drive said boy home since the weather had turned bad and she didn’t want him to walk.
But it’s not just about her using these memories … it’s about us as parents. Remembering what it was like for us growing up, falling in love, getting our hearts broken and spreading our wings. It’s about us trying to protect our children while at the same time realizing sometimes they have to learn the hard way and our role is now just to ‘be’ there to help pick up the pieces.
I wish my girls never have to experience the agony of a broken heart, but I know that is through that pain, they’ll find a strength they didn’t realize they had. I hope, as their mom, that our relationship will remain stable and strong enough that when that does happen, they’ll let me be there for them, to remind them of their strength.
Wish me luck.