Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The First Date

Right now, as I speak, D is getting ready for her first date. She's going to an afternoon movie with a boy she's known since elementary school. To her, this is a long time ago. To me, it is yesterday. Her friend C is here helping her pick out her outfit and what perfume to wear. I'm sure she shaved her legs, but I'm not going to ask.

It's an odd feeling for me. I'm excited for her, but I'm not excited that it's happening. Already. So soon. I'm not ready and I know she thinks she is, but she's 15. She doesn't know how to turn the washing machine on, what does she know about boys? Ideally, I would lock her in her room until she's 30 but I don't suppose that's realistic. Even if every judge in the country with a teenage daughter would understand and be on my side.

Yesterday we went to the lake for the afternoon, friend C in tow. C and I wanted only to lie in the sun, soaking up all the warmth that our limited summer offers us. D wanted to be in the water, on her float. I could see her little five-year-old self, full of enthusiasm and childish wonder. I was grateful that it's still there.

She finally convinced C to go out with her; she was just bursting to talk to her friend about the upcoming date, with all of the cringe-inducing details that I don't want to hear. They floated to the other side of the cove and sat there, legs dangling in the water, for a couple of hours. (Which made my day much more peaceful than the woman's next to me. The one with the three and five-year-old boys who were constantly bickering and whining.)

They came back for a snack and we discussed whether or not this is a real date. Being the mom (and the woman) that I am, I told her it's not a real date unless he pays for her. I don't care what the cost, even a token $7 for an afternoon movie shows that he is interested and wants to make a good impression. A real gentleman always pays for the first date.

On the way home, we were stopped for road construction. We were the first car in the line and the road crew guy got the biggest kick out of it. Windows rolled down, music turned up, all of us singing. The girls were in the back seat were bouncing up and down, rocking the car. I think it made his day, he laughed several times and waved as we drove by. Silly teenagers have a way of doing that.

Halfway home, both girls started screaming something incomprehensible. I turned the music down, afraid I had hit a small animal or one of the girls had gotten stung by a bee. They finally calmed down enough that I could make out, "HE'S PAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ah. So it's a real date after all.

I'm suddenly nervous for her. I want to tell her a hundred things about boys and how they can't be trusted (after all, this is a teenage boy we're talking about) and start counting down to the first time this boy breaks her heart. But I can't do that to her. She'll find all that out soon enough but right now she's excited and giddy and those are good feelings to have. We should all feel like that more often. This is her moment and I'm just lucky that I get to share it with her.

I've promised myself that I won't embarrass her when I drop her off. I won't stare lovingly at her or glare at the boy. Really. But I can't promise that a tear or two won't escape as I drive off.

Ready or not, my little girl is growing up.


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