My Dating Daughter

Last spring I found out about my daughter’s latest crush. No big deal, she’d had crushes before, it’s just part of growing up. Then, right after her fourteenth birthday, BOOM! The crush liked her too. That revelation floored me. I hadn’t been ready for the liking back part.

What to do? How to help? I’d been preparing for this moment since she was 8. I’d read books, talked to friends, actively pursued information on the topic.  After all this research I’d come to the conclusion that Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman was worth a spot on my bookshelf. It’s been my go to reference ever since.

With the help of that book I had put all these guidelines and rules in place to help her when the time came. Actually we’d had several discussions so my daughter already knew them, but I thought I had more time.

I should have known better, nothing every works on a designated timeline, at least not when it comes to human nature. This revelation left me scrambling to implement the guidelines in more tangible ways, but before I could do that, I needed to get her father on board. That was the hard sell and I knew it. No father wants to see their fourteen year old little girl liking some boy. It causes them to revert back to their own emotions and feelings from adolescents, then they freak out.

Several conversations later dad was reluctantly on board; now for the implementation piece. How to go about it? My opportunity came because of a small skirmish with friends which led to my daughter being unceremoniously uninvited to a birthday party. It was actually my husband’s idea believe it or not, but we told our daughter that she could host a movie night during that birthday party, inviting the other girls who had been uninvited and a few boys, including  the new crush.

She was excited. So was I. It would give my daughter a chance to hang out with her crush, and it would give me a chance to get to know her friends and the young man in question just a little better. It seemed like a win-win all around.

The glitch in my plan came when the movie night got moved from the Saturday of said birthday party, to the Friday preceding it. With that change also came a change in venue. It would now be at the crush’s house and not mine.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! This was not what I’d agreed to at all! What to do? I wasn’t comfortable letting her go to the crush’s house not really knowing the parents. Would my daughter remember her guidelines? Would the parents be as on top of things as I planned to be? The uneasiness of this sent me running back to my books, frantically searching for the answer.

Then one evening I had an epiphany…reiterate guidelines to my daughter, stressing the importance of following them for her comfort level and mine, and set up a coffee meeting with the crush’s Mom BEFORE allowing this movie night to proceed.

I had it all mapped out in my mind. I would meet with the Mom, talk to her, find out a little about the family, tell her my daughter’s guidelines so she knew where I stood on the fourteen year old dating scene, and if all went well, give consent for my daughter to go to the movie night. I went to sleep peaceful in the knowledge that I had a plan of action.

The next morning, I couldn’t wait to share my plan. After waking my daughter up, I gave her a few minutes to wipe the sleep from her eyes and then launched into my idea. “Here’s the deal baby girl, you can go to movie night but first I need to talk to the boyfriend’s mom. Please text him and get me her number. I want to set up a coffee date with her before Friday.”

Sadie already had the number, the boyfriend had sent it to her figuring that I might want to call his Mom. Mentally I added a positive to this guy’s running checklist, and then I continued my conversation. ” You also need to remember your guidelines baby girl. Common rooms only when visiting the young man’s house, going out in uneven group numbers, no double dates”. I had more to say but my daughter unceremoniously cut me off with an eye roll, an “I know, I know Mom,” and the pulling of her covers over her head.

I went back to my room to text the crush’s mom and set up our coffee date. When I walked in Sadie’s Dad was waking up so I decided to tell him about my epiphany as well. He was half awake, but tried his best to keep up with me. When I’d finished he looked at me, took a breath, and said, “The boy’s mom doesn’t need to know Sadie’s guidelines. Sadie knows them and that’s what matters. I like the coffee idea though.” With that he got out of bed to begin his day.

I stood there for a minute thinking about what he’d said. Crap! He was right. He really was right. In my over zealousness to protect our daughter and still allow her this chance to explore the beginnings of boy/girl relationships I had once again over analyzed the situation.

It’s a fault of mine, I admit it. Whenever I’m tired I overthink things. Sadie wasn’t asking to marry this young man, she wasn’t even asking if she could kiss him, she just wanted a chance to get to know him better. Dammit! How is it that my husband can be so succinct at getting to the heart of a situation? I think that must be why we work so well as a team, but I’m getting off point, Sadie’s Dad was right. I somewhat grudgingly gave him that, and then went back to talk to our daughter.

Walking into her room, I smiled and said, ” You need to thank your Daddy and give him a big hug when you go downstairs. He just saved you, and probably me, some major embarrassment”. With that I told her what he’d said, hugged her, and let her finish getting dressed. That’s another thing about my wonderful family, they all know my quirks and love me anyway.

Two days later I had my coffee date with the boyfriend’s Mom. She was amazing, and we were totally on the same page about fourteen year olds and dating. I left that meeting feeling very good about this next step in adolescents for my daughter. She had a boyfriend, he seemed like a really good guy, and his mother was a person I would have chosen to hang out with even if our children weren’t dating. Pretty good turn of events if you ask me.

So here I am, ready for the next stop on the adolescent train, and remember I have a 15 year old too. The next few years are going to be interesting. Let’s just hope that I keep my head on straight, my quirkiness in check, and my humor intact.

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