I’m So Not Ready For My Daughter To Start ‘Liking’ Boys
The grossest thing happened to me the other day. Now, I know when you hear this you will shake your head and throw some rage comments my way and tell me how I’m absurd I’m being and what my kid is doing is totally normal and that I have nothing to worry about and yeah yeah I GET it, I know what I am venting about is just a first world problem and not even a problem really but it still made me get all frowny.
My nine-year-old told me the other day that she likes a boy in her class.
I know at her age this is normal, this is probably the typical age when kids start to feel an attraction or fondness for other kids. Actually, a few of you probably have your own tales about how your much younger kids have all ready claimed to have crushes or boyfriends or girlfriends and all of that, and I get that this was bound to happen eventually.
I just didn’t want it to happen to my kid, and so soon.
Sure, I’m at a very fragile emotional place in my life right now. I’m probably going to be making interior emotional mountains out of molehills for a while. I just remember all of this, first crushes, all of the angst and anxiety and insecurities which come from reaching prepubescence and puberty and wanting boys to like me back. Who told my daughter she could have any of that bullshit?
I reacted in a good way. I didn’t storm off and slam my door and sob into my pillow while screaming NOT MY BABYYYYYYY, but part of me wanted to. I asked her what liking a boy means and she said it’s when you think a boy is funny and cool and you want to be friends with them. Good. because I’m certainly not about to start chauffeuring my kid on kiddie dates. We talked about why she likes him and why she thinks he likes her (He borrowed her a pencil! He sits with her at lunch!) and then I remembered back to being around the same age when I first declared my own fondness for a boy and what my own mama told me:
It doesn’t matter who likes you. All the boys will like you. Hundreds of boys. What matters is who you like, and who you find worthwhile of your affection. Who makes you think and laugh and feel good about yourself and who brings out the best in you.
As wise as I find this advice in my old age now, I can’t say that I always followed it when I was navigating my own love life. It took me around 30 years to find a person who fit that criteria. I know I had to make many mistakes to get where I am now in my romantic life, and my own daughter has to make hers too, and she should be allowed to make those mistakes, to date the wrong people and the people who will break her heart and teach her all about what she doesn’t want in a partner.
It just feels like nine is so young to all ready be thinking about these things! And yes, she isn’t the one thinking about dating and relationships. That can be put more on me, because she is probably just interested in sitting next to this boy at lunch, but I can see the trajectory, I can see the application of lipgloss and the stolen kisses in driveways and the broken curfews and the furtive texting and the horrific wanting of liking a boy and wanting him to like you back.
It’s more than enough to make me want to go hide in a pillow and sob not my baby.