Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Lessons From a Teenager

D had a friend over the other night and then a third friend went to the fair with them the next day. There were the usual silly, girly quotes and sayings. They were all screaming in anticipation of the concert they went to see and that was funny in itself. But she said some other things that were less funny but stuck with me afterward. See below.

"I got a guy's number!!!!!!"
Yes, she screamed when she said this. In the car. And it is funny. But terrifying at the same time. And the point I made at the time was that she didn't ask for his number herself. Technically her friend asked, she just put it in her phone. That turned out not to be the lesson. I'd like to say something about how boys are lazy these days and need to man up and make the first move. That isn't the lesson either. The lesson is that she wanted something and she found a way to get it. Life is short. You can't wait around for it, you have to go and get it. Sometimes you enlist a friend for help.

"The technicality just wasn't there."
This was in reference to a ballet we went to see in Portland. It was a rock opera ballet, meaning there was a live band and live singers and they played songs from the 60's while the ballet dancers did the twist and the mashed potato. At first I thought we've watched one too many talent shows, but then it struck me that she's just growing up. She's realizing that if you're going to do something and devote a large chunk of your time to it, then you better do it well. Nobody wants to see you half-ass it. My lesson to her was to look past the initial surface, let go of expectations, and just enjoy a situation for what it is. In this case it was a dance with fun songs and cute costumes.

"You're being mean and judgey."
My first response was going to be, "Did we just meet?" The second was "I'm your mom, I'm supposed to be." But this was about the boy whose number she had "gotten" and she was right. I was judging and red-flagging all over this boy I haven't even met and she just wanted to be happy and feel butterflies and imagine the first kiss. In my defense, I was only being judgey because she's my baby girl and nobody will ever be good enough for her and also I'm old and cynical and I don't want her heart broken a million times. But she was right and I was hurtful. She was living that second lesson about living in the moment and feeling the joy that comes and I needed to look past the serious stuff and the possibilities that may or may not happen and let her have her happy.

The first date with this boy is Saturday. For the first time a boy will come to the house, pick her up in a car by himself, and take her on a date. No parents driving. No parents dropping off and picking up. Yes, I am stressing this because it terrifies me. But I have to learn to let go and she has to learn how to move in her own way in the world. At least we're trying to figure it out together.


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