Where the Apple Falls

You’ll have to allow me some flexibility here. I know I’m supposed to be talking about dating after 40, but I’m starting to wonder how much dating after 40 affects the next generation, specifically my own offspring.

My 15-year-old had her first date last week, which was bizarre enough in and of itself. Witnessing her first kiss, after said date, was a shock that I still haven’t recovered from. She came home gushing and giddy and very much in puppy-love. Or so I thought.

I was out of town for a few days last week. I left a little puppy lover and came home to a mini-commitment-phobe. Our conversation was as follows:

15: I don’t think I like him anymore.
Me: What did he do?
15: Nothing. He’s nice.
Me: Then what happened?
15: He kissed me in the hall and I didn’t like it.
Me: But I thought you were all giddy about being kissed.
15: But the thing is, I wasn’t. I was like, “That’s it? That’s all?” I told him to eat lunch with his friends and I’d eat with mine.
Me: I thought you wanted a boyfriend.
15: No, I want my freedom. I don’t want to be in a relationship.
Me: Oh. Well, that’s okay. You don’t have to be in love right now.
15: I’m not. But there is this new guy on Glee and he is totally HOT!! I want him to be my boyfriend!

So, obviously she is firmly grounded in reality.

On the positive side, that first heartbreak is postponed for a while yet. She won’t grow up overnight and she can spend her “date nights” with me instead. I get to be her primary source of comfort still and not some boy who has only known her for five minutes.

But it makes me wonder. She sees me hanging out with my girlfriends, not men. Which I’ve done on purpose. I don’t introduce her to everyone I meet and I won’t. But I’ve been single for three years now so I wonder if she sees this as normal. Which it is, but she’s so young. I wasn’t ready for puppy love at first, but then I was because I actually like this boy. And now she’s pushing him away. Just like I do. And really, what is a relationship at 15? Holding hands and texting and walking through the hall together. It’s not supposed to be a huge time investment but it feels like that to her. She’d rather focus on her dance and music and friends. These are all good things and I’m proud of her for it, but I still have this nagging little doubt that I’m seeing the seeds of cynicism. If she’s not able to be all googly over someone when she should. I wonder if my shadow isn’t so long and dark that she can’t see past its boundaries into the light of giddiness and butterflies.

I don’t want her to be too serious yet. Or ever. Or at all, really. I suppose all I can do is wait and see and listen to whatever she wants to tell me. And trust that she’ll find her own path, which isn’t mine, that leads her to her own happiness.

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~ by Kat on November 6, 2011.

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