Shortly after I completed my second foray into life as a 6th-grader, I came home to find my smirking husband sitting at the dining room table with my daughter, who was working on her homework.
Me: What are you smirking about?
Ian: Your daughter has some news.
Me: What news?
Daughter: [imagine a sing-songy musical tone here] I’m in looooove.
Me: You’re in what now?
Daughter: I have a boyfriend.
Me: Excuse me, I have to go vomit now *has panic attack*
Pardon me if I sound a little too “When-I-Was-Your-Age” here, but when I was her age, there was absolutely no way I would have trotted home to my family and happily announced my first relationship. My first boyfriend did not happen until the summer before my 9th-grade year, which I suppose would have made me 14 at the time; we dated for a month and never even got past the holding hands phase. My daughter is still in 6th grade not even 12 yet. At that point in my school career, I had not even experienced a crush yet. Although I will admit it was around that time when I decided I was going to marry one of the boys in my class because his mom was really nice and they lived in this amazing tudor-style house in a sort of cul-de-sac near my old best friend’s house. I had always loved that house, and I figured if I was going to have to get married someday, it might as well be to someone with great real estate. Good thing it never occurred to me that he would probably have moved out of that house by the time we were old enough to get married – who knows what that would have done to my young heart.
So when my daughter announced to me that she had her first boyfriend, two parts of me were at war. The one who says “Oh isn’t that sweet! Tell me all about it” and the one who says “This is a nightmare. Stop talking immediately and I will pretend you never said that.” Eventually the first part overtook the second part just enough to have a conversation about the boy. And of course, the whole idea of a “boyfriend” necessitated the revival of “THE TALK”, which I hate because the whole topic of sex is so embarrassing to me that I can’t even say the word without lowering the volume of my voice at least one notch. Alas, part of being a mom is being responsible enough to embarrass your kids by talking to them about topics like s-e-x. I certainly don’t want to be that mom who finds out when her daughter comes home pregnant that she already learned all about sex from someone else. So I conned her into going for a drive by promising to stop at her favorite place in the world – the library. Naturally she was horrified and embarrassed to have THE TALK again but the beauty of the drive plan is that her only escape was to open the door and roll out of the car the next time I slowed down for a turn. After the first couple of times she did this, she learned that I did not give up that easily and finally succumbed to the conversation. Of course I am joking. She’s a smart kid, so it only took one rolling leap from the moving vehicle before she gave up.**
Of course all my worries were for naught – four days later her new boyfriend broke up with her in the lunch line because he was tired of being teased by all the other boys about having a girlfriend. Suppressing the urge to run over to his house and shout “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, BREAKING MY LITTLE GIRL’S HEART?!”, I gave her a big hug and taught her the most important lesson a North Dakota mother can pass on to her daughter: nothing cures heartache like french fries and chocolate cake. A few days later she told me that a boy asked her out in gym class and broke up with her 25 minutes later. Obviously given the short-lived nature of this relationship, she found it much more amusing than heartbreaking. As my friend Brian eloquently put it, no one tries to make it work anymore.
**Obviously I am still joking. If you honestly believed that I would be dumb enough to blog about my daughter jumping from a moving vehicle, then you don’t know me at all. If she had really done this, I would certainly not have put it in writing.