Has your tween girl been asked on a date yet? Is she going out with someone? Does she have a boyfriend? Are you getting uncomfortable with these questions?
So my new teen came home from school on Friday all happy, bubbly and excited to tell me all about her day. She even wanted to walk with me to get her younger siblings off the bus, to tell me all about it. This was a first. I knew something was unusual.
But what she told me about took me by surprise. There was this boy who wanted to ask her out. I tried to seem all happy and giggly, just like her. So exciting!
Or not. What the heck! She’s in 8th grade, I kept thinking.
But then again, when I was her age, everyone I knew was “going with” someone. And I did too. Was I allowed? No. Did I tell my parents? Heck no! So, I started to realize that this was a special opportunity to chat with my daughter something I’d never have discussed with my parents.
So I became enthralled.
We talked about the boy, all the chatter going on at school about whether or not he was going to ask her out, and then my daughter looked at me and asked, “Well, what should I do?”
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach after you’ve worked out a little too hard… or eaten too many chocolate bars… or turned around in the car to chat with someone behind you in a car that’s going around crazy bends and hills? That’s how I felt; just for a second.
And then I thought of something: I needed to get her to tell me what she ought to do. Not the other way around. She had to think this through on her own.
So I asked her what she thought she ought to do.
She was full of all kinds of conflicting feelings. It was exciting to know she was going to be asked out. She loved how it felt to know someone “liked” her. He was a nice boy and she was friends with him. Her friends said they looked cute together.
But, lately, it was a little creepy. He wasn’t himself. He was acting really odd. He stared at her. Listened intently to her every word. He talked about her to everyone. She felt al little, well, ew.
“Well, you know, that part will probably get a little worse,” I said.
She turned pale. She knew it was true. If this is how he was acting, just considering asking her out, can you imagine how he was going to behave when they were really going out?
I gave her some of the ground rules off the top of my head, making them up as I went, and I told her there would be more rules, too. But that it was her decision.
I just wasn’t ready for this!
“Mom, you’re taking all the fun out of this!” she said.
I hugged my new teen. I knew I wasn’t saying the stuff that she wanted me to say. But I was helping her to make a case for what she wanted to do. She wanted a good reason to say no. And I wasn’t saying that she wasn’t allowed to say yes.
I think I surprised her!
“Listen, I am so glad you told me about this boy. And I am excited for you. It feels great to know someone thinks you pretty cool. I get it. But I do wish you would say no when he asks you out. I don’t want you to have all kinds of goofiness or lose a friend over this kind of dating thing, it’s just too weird. But I can tell you’re excited. So if you say yes, I just want you to know that I’m going to want to make sure you are happy and safe. Ok?”
“Ok,” she said, “I just wanted to know what you would say if I said yes. And now I know. So that’s all I needed to know. I feel better.”
Whew. 3 days passed.
Today she came home from school all full of bubbles and giggles and stories from the day. Uh-oh, I thought. Then she told me that he asked her out and she said, “No thanks.”
We both smiled and started laughing.
“No thanks?” I asked.
“Yep, that’s what I said. I just told him that I felt funny and that I liked him, but, well, no thanks, and he said that it was ok,” she said.
Sometimes just knowing that someone thinks you’re special is pretty special on its own. And it made her day.
And sometimes letting go is the hardest thing ever, but when it works out, it just makes your day. This little moment certainly made mine.
Oh, and I will be running this event off my mind tomorrow morning, first thing! I’m going 6 miles. How about you?
May your next run be a good one.