Sooner or later almost every single person will have one, a broken heart. As a mother, I observe my teenage daughter engaging in her first “real” boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Watching with the advantage of having walked a mile or two in her shoes, I know this is an unavoidable train wreck. I am already preparing myself for the inevitable day of the big break-up.
I know some would fault me for being so cynical. They would claim I am not really giving the two a chance. However, really, what are the odds that the first romantic relationship two young people have will result in a healthy,life-long commitment. We’re talking about a sixteen-year-old and a fifteen-year-old who have never had a job, don’t even a have driver’s license, have never been anywhere or done anything on their own, and who have the greatest stressors in their lives wrapped up in getting good grades and not having an acne outbreak. So, no, I don’t think they have yet accumulated the wisdom and knowledge and habits that will lead to this being the one and only love affair they will ever have.
I am preparing myself for the day when my daughter arrives home dejected and surprised that they two of them were not funny enough or interesting enough to live happily ever after. She is so immersed in the giddy effect of having a boy who calls her, holds her hand and keeps her at the center of his attention that she has completely forgotten that for the past two years, despite the fact that they shared the same classrooms eight hours daily, five days a week, she completely ignored his existence. But, suddenly, because her best friend told her that he was the perfect guy for her, he’s a prince.
And, since he had ignored her in equal measure, she had to embark upon a plan to get his attention. The smooth, unobtrusive moves to sit in a direct line of sight in the cafeteria was just one such strategy. Finally, after a couple of weeks of planting herself within eyesight, earshot, or even “inadvertently” bumping into him in the hallways, he spoke to her. How did she react? She treated him as if he were gum on the bottom of her shoe.
The game was on. The rejection caused him to become fixated on her. The tables turned and he began the line of sight seating strategy and talking just loud enough for her to “overhear” the “cool” things he had to say. I listened to hours upon hours of phone conversations between her and her bestie about how silly and obvious he was. Finally, all of this silliness culminated in an invitation to the movies via e-mail.
I could not believe that my daughter’s first date was through a digital invitation. I could only feel the trepidation a woman well-versed in the arts of romance understands. The first date email invitation was most certainly the foreshadow of doom upon any prospective relationship with this guy. But, I held my tongue and she accepted anyway.
So, here we are three months later and I know what that means. My daughter’s natural female hormonal response is inspiring fantasies of princess wedding dresses. She just “knows” he’s the one. Well, he’s the only “one” thus far, but I don’t say that. I just smile sweetly and wonder when this young love affair will run its course and she’ll cry her eyes out as the two of us consume an entire box of bon bons and I share my knowledge of men and assure her that her perfect soulmate is out there waiting to find her at just the right moment in both of their lives.
For now I tolerate her attempts to compare her relationship with dream-boy with my relationship with her father. I am reminded of how different my husband and I are yet how perfectly alike the two of them are. Oh yes, they love the same music. They “follow” the same celebrities. They enjoy the same types of movies. And the list of similarities goes on and on. I resist the urge to get snarky and repeat the cliché, “opposites attract” and wonder aloud, for her to hear, how being with someone just like myself would be so boring. No, I don’t say that. Once again I just smile sweetly and tell her how happy I am for her and cooly wait for the other shoe to drop.
My daughter and I, well, we are in a dance. This is a magic moment for us. If I make the wrong move or say the wrong thing, I could create a gulf between the two of us. As a parent I have to get this right. I must accept prince charming and be supportive of her naïve belief that this is forever. I must remain her best friend because when her heart is eventually broken, I will have to show her how to be a strong, young woman and use it as a growing experience.