When my kids get home from school each day, I open the door and greet them each with a smile and a hug. Yesterday, my 6 year old and 7 year old smiled as usual, but my 10 year old had a grin on her face. Seriously. She looked like the cat who swallowed the canary.
She bounded through the door and said right away “This is the best day ever!!” I asked her what happened and she just kept smiling. She wouldn’t tell me. So, I again said “Why, what happened?!!!” — this time a little more persistently. She then spilled the beans. She said “I got a note from ‘Bobby’ and he gave me his phone number!!!”
I about passed out. Yep, right there on the steps. Thank goodness I had my hand on the railing to steady me. Being the mom I am, I tried to play it cool while my insides were screaming – “NOPE! Not gonna happen!!” I asked her the questions that any mom would and this is how the conversation went:
M: So, is this a boy you like?
E: I don’t know.
M: What do you mean you don’t know, is he just a friend?
E: (Big grin) – I think so.
M: Do you think he is cute?
M: I just asked. What did the note say?
E: He said he liked me as a friend and gave me his phone number so I can call him.
M: So, he is just a friend, you don’t like him more than that.
E: Yeah, he is a friend.
She laid the note down on the counter and proceeded with her afternoon snack and routine. I can not tell you how much restraint it took for me not to pick up that note and read it. We are talking “coffee addict in Starbucks with unlimited funds” restraint. I turned and walked away. When I went back into the kitchen, the note was still lying there. I actually could swear I heard it taunting me:
“Come on Tracie. You know you want to read me. Do it. She’ll never know. You can fold me back up when you are done.”
In that moment, I reached for the note. With it in my right hand, I walked to my daughter and said “Here, you might want to put this somewhere so you do not lose it” and I walked away. I did it! I did not interfere in her personal life. GULP. Her. Personal. Life.
Later on, when all the kids were in the room with me, I pushed the conversation a bit more. I asked her if she liked boys and wanted a boyfriend. My 7 year old immediately shouted out “You have to be 18 to have a boyfriend or girlfriend” which was countered with “YEAH!” from my 6 year old. (Boy, how I wish I could hold them all to that idea). My ten year old say “No, you don’t have to be 18, but you do have to be a teenager.” YES!
So there it was. It hit me. My daughter is growing up. She is ten and may not yet really be into boys, but it is going to happen. I am going to blink and she will be 13 and come home telling me that she has a boyfriend. I started thinking that she is just too young for this. I thought back to when I was a kid and when I had my first boyfriend and it hit me. Yes. I was in the 4th grade.
Back then, you would “go together” – to which my mom would always say “where are you going”. I would roll my eyes and try to explain it to this person who really didn’t know anything (or so I thought). And your relationship, if you can even call it that, was lucky to make it past 3 days. If you made it a week, well that was like 50 years in marriage! We didn’t kiss. We didn’t hold hands. Heck – I don’t even think we spoke with one another. I was young and naive and the world was so different back then.
Now, I am hearing horror stories of 6th grade girls wearing tight jeans and low cut shirts. They have boyfriends and hold hands wherever they go. What sickened me the most is when I heard that these girls and boys were having sex. Yes. At age 12. Parents are encouraging the dating by going on group dates with them. They are hosting parties and allowing the kids to have time alone (totally unsupervised as if you are upstairs and the kids are downstairs, who is watching them). I guess my kids won’t like me. They won’t be doing these activities anytime soon. They may be the “only person” who can’t go to the party. I’m your mom – not your friend. This is my job to protect you for as long as I can.
I am scared for my kids. I know they are so tired of me talking to them about strangers and drugs. I am positive that they get that very well — *Pats self on the back*. Now, we are starting the talks about the birds and the bees. While I am teaching my children to wait, I can only hope and pray that they listen. I pray that their guardian angel and the Lord guide them to make wise choices. I hope they know that they are more than a body for pleasure, they are a person. I hope they know that if someone respects them, they will not force them to do something they do not want to do. My head is spinning thinking of all of these things I have to teach my kids.
I know I can’t shelter my children from the world. They do have to grow up. I just have to keep the lines of communication open with them. I need to make sure they know how to respect themselves and the opposite sex. It is my job to teach them right from wrong on both a moral and ethical level. I know that if I do my job, they are going to still make mistakes, but they are going to know that they have my support and that I am here to help them pick up the pieces.
Even though I know all of this, my heart wants to grab them and go find a time machine. I want to go back 9 years when I could sit with my daughter and rock her in the chair in her room. To that happy, chubby little toddler learning to talk. I want to hold that nursing baby and watch her fall asleep. I want to watch my son learn to walk for the first time. I want to stand over that crib and watch these miracles sleep at night.
I think I need to go drown my sorrows of “losing” my baby. Anyone want to split a carton of chocolate chip ice cream with me?