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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Girls and first boyfriends

By Stacy Turner

Summer is here, which means we’re not up at the crack of dawn to carpool to school. Instead, we’re up at the crack of dawn to try and squeeze in some work before carting kids to help at vacation bible camp, or to a newly acquired part-time job.  We’re running around in the afternoons and evenings to open gym for basketball, volunteering at the animal shelter, and to the karate dojo.  We’re also adjusting to the fact that our soon-to-be-driver now has a boyfriend.  And mom and dad aren’t taking it so well.  This is weird, and like most uncomfortable things, we just want it to go away.

The logical side knows that this is a normal turn of events.  And that it’s perfectly normal for our cute, smart, outgoing daughter to turn the head of a boy or two.  She hasn’t really been too interested in romance –– she’s been busy with sports and friends and other pursuits.  She has thrived on advanced coursework, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that now that she finally likes a boy, it’s one that’s two grades ahead of her.  And he likes her back.  What I wouldn’t give to be back in the ‘boys are gross’ or ‘boys have cooties’ stage.  Cooties were far less worrisome than having your little girl start dating some gross, older, unknown boy.

I realize I’m not being exactly fair. I’m sure this boy isn’t as bad as all that.  He’s her friend, and we like our daughter’s other friends.  Like my daughter, he’s smart and athletic, and seems nice to be around.  He’s also got a mom and dad who seem normal and love him.  Even our dog has stopped barking at him, so he can’t be that bad.  And really, it’s not his fault; just because he's the reason my daughter wants to grow up.  He doesn’t mean to ruin our lives.  Ok, I’ll admit that I may be a tad overdramatic––but just a smidge.

Recently, a coach at my daughter’s high school commented that many of the young men were still waiting for their ‘man bodies’ to develop.  I agree that many of them do look younger than I remember boys looking when I was in high school. Is this because I know their moms? Or is it simply because I’m a mom myself?

I can’t help it that both he and my daughter don’t seem old enough to date anyone, let alone each other. Can we just press the pause button for a while longer?  What’s the rush?  For you parents of older kids, I’m wondering: do your kids ever look old enough to date?  I’m wondering if, years later, I’ll see my daughter in her cap and gown, or wedding dress, or with her own children, and wonder how this could possibly be happening?  Wait…I think I’m starting to hyperventilate now. (Deep breaths in and out.)  Also, can you send your girl to a convent if you aren’t Catholic?  (Asking for a friend.)

Thankfully my younger daughter, the comedienne, provides constant comic relief with her little sister antics.  She’s already given the boy a nickname.  She teased him when she saw him at school or barges in during the couple’s frequent Facetime calls.  Recently, she pantomimed pushing her sleeves up, offering to go in and “bust things up” while the new couple watched a movie at our house.  Granted, they were watching Finding Nemo in our living room in the middle of a weekday afternoon, so her mock threat wasn’t necessary. She was happy to go in later to ask if he was staying for dinner; this invitation may have been delivered through the use of spy gear.  It’s good to have her as part of the team, though we may need to consider adopting a younger sibling when she’s ready to date.

So far, it’s been a summer of big adjustments.  The grass is growing. The garden is growing.  The girls are growing up.  And their parents, well, they’re doing their best to grow up, too.

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